Region 1 News Release: 11-1616-BOS/BOS 2011-376
Nov. 16, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $177,000 in fines to Pomfret, Conn.,
manufacturer for repeat, serious violations of workplace safety standards
HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Loos & Co. Inc. for 29 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The Pomfret cable manufacturer faces a total of $177,000 in proposed fines following safety and health inspections conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office.
"Our inspections found numerous electrical, chemical, mechanical, fire and exit hazards at this plant," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, crushing injuries, being caught in moving or unexpectedly energized machinery, hearing loss and being unable to exit the building swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency. For the safety and health of its workers, this employer needs to effectively correct these hazards and take positive steps to ensure that they do not occur again."
The cited hazards include untrained employees working on live electrical equipment without adequate personal protective equipment; ungrounded lamps and electrical receptacles; damaged and misused electrical equipment and cords; not using hazardous energy control procedures during maintenance of machinery; unguarded moving machine parts; uninspected lifting slings; excessive buildup of combustible dust in two locations; spray painting with flammable paint within 20 feet of spark-producing equipment; excessive noise levels and the lack of controls to reduce noise levels; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; inadequate eyewash facilities for employees working with chemicals; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; failure to conduct initial monitoring for hexavalent chromium; and exit routes arranged so employees would have to travel toward high-hazard areas when exiting the plant in an emergency.
These conditions resulted in citations for 28 serious violations with $149,500 in proposed fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Loos & Co. Inc. also was cited for one repeat violation, with a $27,500 fine, for inadequate machine safeguarding. A similar hazard was cited by OSHA following a 2008 inspection of the plant. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Citations_314404831.pdf*, http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Citations_314_04831_Part_2.pdf*, and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Citations_314405408.pdf*.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Hartford office at 401-528-4667.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.