OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 04-1556-BOS /BOS 2004-189
Friday, August 20, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Ansonia Copper and Brass Inc. of Ansonia, Conn., faces $55,500 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to safeguard workers against overexposure to cadmium, inadequate respirator use and maintenance, and unguarded moving machine parts at its 75 Liberty St. metal casting and extrusion plant.
The company was cited for 26 alleged serious and other-than-serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following OSHA inspections conducted between February and July. OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition for which there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The inspections, prompted by employee complaints, found instances where employees were exposed to excess airborne concentrations of cadmium and the company failed to adequately address the overexposures. Cadmium, often used in metal processing, can enter the body through ingestion or inhalation. Long-term exposure can lead to kidney dysfunction or lung or prostate cancer. OSHA standards mandate steps employers must take to protect employees when they are exposed to cadmium.
OSHA's inspection found a failure to implement effective work practices and engineering controls to reduce cadmium exposure levels; inadequate cadmium exposure monitoring; an inadequate and outdated cadmium plan; unlabeled cadmium containers; training not provided to all affected employees; and a medically removed employee allowed to return to work without written doctor's permission.
Respirator hazards included failing to ensure respirator use; not inspecting or maintaining all respirators in a sanitary condition; inadequate fit-testing; not training employees in respirator use, cleaning and storage; and failing to evaluate workplace conditions to ensure the respirator program was implemented and effective.
The inspection also identified 18 instances where employees were exposed to injuries from unguarded moving machine parts, and broken or flying coils. Other hazards included inadequate safeguards to prevent the accidental startup of machines during maintenance; incomplete and uncertified hazard analyses; inadequate employee training; blocked access to an electrical disconnect, and tripping hazards. Other-than-serious hazards included failing to record all workplace injuries and illnesses, an obscured exit sign, incomplete records and missing warning signs.
Ansonia Copper and Brass has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Bridgeport area office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (203) 579-5581.
In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries including construction. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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