Region 2 News Release: 11-523-NEW/BOS 2011-138
April 18, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $126,000 in fines against
Plattsburgh, NY, manufacturer for 31 safety and health violations
ALBANY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Solve Composites LLC for 31 alleged violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Plattsburgh manufacturing plant. The maker of fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels faces a total of $126,000 in proposed fines following OSHA safety and health inspections prompted by worker complaints.
"These citations address serious deficiencies in protecting workers against basic hazards in an environment where combustible materials and hazardous chemicals are present," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Left uncorrected, they expose employees to potential injury or death from fire, explosions, falls, crushing injuries, chemical exposure, and being unable to respond promptly and properly to a chemical spill. It's imperative that swift, thorough and effective corrective action be taken."
OSHA found plant employees exposed to a variety of fire and explosion hazards stemming from accumulations of combustible dust, inadequate ventilation, improper storage and handling of flammable liquids, lack of an approved spray booth, use of an inappropriate liquefied petroleum gas-powered vehicle in a location containing flammable liquids, not training employees in fire extinguisher use, missing exit signage and lack of an emergency action plan. Additional hazards include lack of personal protective equipment to shield workers' bodies, eyes, faces and hands from chemical hazards; inadequate respiratory protection; fall and electrical hazards; lack of a hazard communication program and training; and failure to rate the load lifting capacity of a hook and carrier beam for overhead cranes used to lift molds. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 29 serious citations with $125,300 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.
The company also was issued two other-than-serious citations, with $700 in fines, chiefly for incomplete illness and injury logs. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and management jointly work to eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Solve Composites LLC 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. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office; telephone 518-464-4338. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
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.