OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 BOS 2003-235
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
for Crushing, Noise, Silica, Other Workplace Safety and Health Hazards
BRAINTREE, Mass. -- The death of a worker at a Holbrook, Mass., concrete products manufacturer may have been prevented if stacks of pallets containing concrete blocks had been properly stacked, reports the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Oldcastle APG N.E., Inc., doing business as Foster-Southeastern, of 46 Spring St., faces $63,000 in fines for 19 alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the March 14 death of an employee who was crushed by a falling stack of pallets loaded with concrete blocks. In addition to the improper stacking of the pallets, the company was cited for failing to adequately safeguard workers against excess noise levels, overexposure to crystalline silica and other safety and health hazards.
"OSHA's inspection found that the pallets holding the concrete were overloaded and stacked five deep," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "Other hazards found included employees working in the plant's tumbling area who were overexposed to crystalline silica and noise. Effective safeguards designed to minimize those hazards were not in place."
According to OSHA's citations, the company allegedly failed to develop a noise-monitoring program, establish a training program, provide baseline audiograms, provide suitable hearing protectors and enforce the use of hearing protection by employees who were overexposed to noise. The action level is 85 decibels over an eight-hour workday.
Oldcastle also allegedly failed to implement effective engineering controls and to take other required measures to protect workers exposed to airborne concentrations of silica in excess of the permissible exposure limit. Crystalline silica, a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other materials, is a human lung carcinogen, and breathing silica dust can cause silicosis, a potentially disabling or fatal disease.
Other hazards found during the inspection included inadequate machine guarding, electrical hazards, missing stairrail and guardrail, lack of an emergency eyewash station and the use of a damaged wire rope sling.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. The company has contested the citations and fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA's area office in Braintree, Mass. conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (617) 565-6924. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.
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