Region 1 News Release: 09-818-BOS/BOS 2009-219
Tues., July 21, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $100,000 in fines against Concord, N.H., steam plant following fire that injured worker
CONCORD, N.H. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Concord Steam Corp. for 73 alleged willful, serious and other than serious violations of safety standards after a worker at its Pleasant Street steam generating plant in Concord was burned in a Jan. 22 fire that occurred when pressurized oil ignited after leaking from a boiler. Concord Steam faces a total of $104,200 in proposed fines.
OSHA's inspection found that the boiler's doors were bulging and cracked and not properly secured against the escape of embers and fire. This situation posed a fire and explosion hazard in that escaping embers and flames could ignite combustible materials in the plant and did later ignite a smoldering fire in a pile of accumulated wood dust. OSHA also identified a variety of chemical, electrical, mechanical, asbestos and other fire-related hazards in the plant.
"The conditions found in this plant expose its employees to the risks of fire, explosion, lacerations, crushing injuries, falls, hazardous chemicals, electrocution, suffocation, lung disease and being unable to promptly exit the plant in a fire or other emergency," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director in Concord. "They must be fully and effectively corrected for the safety and health of the workers."
Cited conditions include obstructed or unmarked exit access; lack of an alarm system or emergency action plan; inadequately trained and equipped fire brigade; uninspected fire extinguishers; fall hazards; lack of personal protective equipment; deficiencies in the plant's confined space, respirator and lockout/tagout of accidental energization start-up programs; untrained fork truck operators; inadequate chemical hazard communication; numerous instances of unguarded machinery and various electrical hazards; accumulations of asbestos containing or potentially asbestos containing waste and debris; and failure to survey the work area for asbestos, inform employees of its presence, provide asbestos awareness training and properly clean up asbestos.
OSHA has issued Concord Steam one willful citation, with a $22,000 fine for the asbestos accumulation and 65 serious citations with $79,800 in fines, for the remaining items. The company also has been issued seven other than serious citations, with $2,400 in fines, chiefly for inadequate or incomplete injury and illness recording. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Concord Steam has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Concord Area Office; telephone 603-225-1629.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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