Region 1 News Release: 09-879-BOS/BOS 2009-239
Mon., Aug. 3, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA proposes $125,000 in fines for Watertown, Mass., manufacturer for electrical, chemical and respirator hazards
ANDOVER, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Fluid Management Systems Inc. for 29 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of safety and health standards at its Watertown, Mass., production plant. The manufacturer of analytical instruments faces a total of $125,000 in proposed penalties, chiefly for electrical, chemical and respirator hazards.
"Our inspection found employees working in close proximity to energized electrical circuits without proper training or personal protective equipment," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "OSHA standards require that circuits be de-energized before employees work on them and that appropriate personal protective equipment be supplied and used in those rare instances where de-energizing is not feasible."
Among the other electrical-related hazards found during the inspection were instances of unguarded or uncovered live electrical parts, equipment and openings; failing to de-energize live electrical parts before working on them; not training employees in safe electrical work practices; and allowing unqualified employees to work on energized equipment.
Additional hazards included unmarked exit routes; improperly stored compressed gas cylinders; inadequate lockout/tagout safeguards; improper training and lack of eyewashes for employees working with methylene chloride; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and inadequate respiratory protection safeguards.
As a result, OSHA has issued Fluid Management Systems Inc. two willful citations, with $70,000 in proposed fines, for the lack of personal protective equipment and for work in close proximity to energized electrical circuits. OSHA has issued 26 serious citations, with $53,500 in fines for the remaining items. The company also has been issued one other-than-serious citation with a $1,500 fine for not recording injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 log or equivalent.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Fluid Management Systems Inc. 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 Boston North Area Office in Andover. The telephone number there is 978-837-4460.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.