US Labor Department's OSHA cites Kingston, NY, manufacturer for 23
serious safety violations, proposes $123,000 in fines for Hunter Panels LLC
ALBANY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hunter Panels LLC with 23 alleged serious safety violations at its Kingston, N.Y., production plant. The manufacturer of roof insulation panels faces a total of $123,000 in fines following an inspection that began in July 2012 by OSHA's Albany Area Office.
OSHA found several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address proactively hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was n-pentane, an organic compound used in the manufacturing process. The cited deficiencies included missing process safety information, failing to develop and implement safe work practices, correct equipment deficiencies, follow up on the findings of compliance audits, address all hazards identified during a process hazard analysis, and document the resolution of corrective actions. 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.
"The stringent and comprehensive requirements of OSHA's process safety management standard are designed to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals," said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "The safety and well-being of employees requires full, effective and proactive adherence to the standard's requirements by the employer."
OSHA's inspection also identified deficiencies in the plant's emergency response, confined space and hazardous energy control programs, lack of personal protective equipment, accumulation of combustible dust, as well as fall and respirator hazards.
"One method of enhancing workers' safety is for an employer to develop and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HunterCitations.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 Albany office at 518-464-4338.
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 or CD 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.