US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Vivid Image Inc. with 12 violations,
including lack of respiratory protection after worker dies from chemical exposure
THERESA, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Vivid Image Inc. with 12 safety violations¿including two willful¿after one worker died and another was hospitalized from exposure to the chemical toluene at the Theresa, Wis., manufacturing plant on Nov. 29.
Two willful violations involved workers not wearing respiratory protection while working with the chemical toluene in an unventilated area, and for exposure to toluene beyond the peak level of 500 parts per million. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
OSHA guidelines limit peak toluene exposure to 10 minutes per single time period for any eight-hour shift, with a time weighted average exposure of 200 parts per million. Toluene is a clear, colorless liquid used in a variety of industries and is a common solvent for products such as paints, thinners and glues. Vivid Image specializes in coating production and micro screens.
"Vivid Image has a responsibility to monitor workers' exposure to known chemicals in its facility, ensure usage of protective equipment and train workers in workplace hazards," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison, Wis. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job."
Additionally, 10 serious safety and health violations include a failure to reasonably evaluate toluene air concentrations; shut off the ventilation system and block the exhaust duct while applying screen coating material containing toluene; disallow ignition sources inside the coating room where flammable material was mixed and applied; develop and implement a written hazard communication program; provide worker training on physical and health hazards of coating material; properly storing flammable liquids; provide guarding on a table saw; prevent exposed electrical wires using extension cords instead of permanent wiring; and provide fork truck training. 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.
Proposed penalties total $64,600.
Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Vivid Image in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
Vivid Image, which employs three workers, has 15 business days from receipt of its current citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 Madison office at 608-441-5388. 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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.