April 13, 2015BOS 2015-076
A. Hyatt Ball Co. Inc. exposes employees to fire, explosion, other hazards
Fort Edward, New York, employer faces more than $105K in OSHA fines for 48 violations
ALBANY, N.Y. – A manufacturer of custom-sized resin balls used in the petroleum industry failed to protect its employees from the risk of death or serious injury from potential fires, explosions and other hazards by not providing and using mandatory safeguards, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors have found.
Officials from OSHA's Albany Area Office began inspecting the A. Hyatt Ball Co. Inc. plant in Fort Edward in October 2014, in response to complaints. Inspectors identified 48 violations of workplace safety and health standards, resulting in $105,200 in proposed fines.
"Our inspection identified a disturbing number of violations. A. Hyatt Ball lacks basic safety and health programs to prevent fires, explosions or an uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer and can cause allergic reactions to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract," said Kim Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "The ball manufacturing process requires the storage and use of up to 1,900 pounds of a flammable formaldehyde solution. When storing or using more than 1,000 pounds of formaldehyde in a chemical process, the company has a responsibility to protect its employees with an effective Process Safety Management program*."
OSHA found that the plant lacked such a program. In addition, inspectors found the presence of combustible resin dust; flammable liquids improperly stored and transferred; no audible fire alarm and fire-suppression system; and locked and obstructed exit routes. All of these violations increased the risk of employees being killed, injured or unable to escape from a fire or explosion.
"Protecting its employees must be an active, ongoing process for A. Hyatt Ball. The company must correct not only the chemical, fire and explosion hazards, but also the wide range of violations that expose its employees to falls, crushing injuries, chemical burns, lacerations and eye and face injuries," said Castillon.
The citations can be viewed here.
A. Hyatt Ball 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 Area 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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