Fri., Aug. 29, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
METHUEN, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Designer's Stone Co. of Watertown, Mass., for alleged repeat and serious safety and health violations and failing to correct hazards cited during a previous OSHA inspection. A total of $40,600 in fines is proposed.
The latest citations and fines result from an OSHA inspection opened Feb. 13 to verify correction of hazards cited by OSHA in August 2007. The follow-up inspection found that four of 17 cited conditions remained uncorrected. These included inadequate or incomplete hazard communication training for employees working with chemicals, flammables and silica produced during stone grinding; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; ungrounded fans; and unmarked circuit breakers. These conditions resulted in the issuance of four failure-to-abate notices carrying $21,000 in fines.
Eight repeat citations, with $14,800 in fines, were issued for hazards similar to those cited in 2007. These citations encompass lack of eye protection; no annual fit-testing for respirators; unguarded rotating saw blades; unguarded grinders; electric tools used without ground fault circuit interrupters; exposed live electrical parts; extension cords used in place of fixed wiring; and failure to provide prompt access to employees of their records of exposure to silica.
Finally, six serious citations, with $4,800 in fines, were issued for lack of respirator training; water containers covered with silica dust; unmounted, discharged and/or uninspected fire extinguishers; unguarded saw blades; damaged power cords; and other electrical hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"These additional penalties point to the need for this employer to implement effective and continuous corrective action to eliminate existing hazards and prevent their recurrence," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's acting area director in Methuen.
The company has elected to contest its citations and fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Methuen Area Office; telephone 617-565-8110.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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