OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 News Release: 04-1855-BOS /BOS 2004-229
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
BRAINTREE, Mass. -- A wide range of health and safety hazards at a New Bedford, Mass., tire recycling and disposal company has resulted in $45,750 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Bob's Tire Company, located at 78 and 79 Brook St., was cited for 34 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards following an OSHA inspection opened April 7 in response to complaints about unsafe and unsanitary conditions. 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 inspection found that the company failed to supply an adequate number of toilet facilities for workers. Fifty or more laborers were required to share one bathroom. That bathroom was not maintained in a sanitary condition, lacked running water because the knobs to operate the sink's water faucet had been removed by management and also lacked soap and towels.
Employees were exposed to falls of up to 20 feet from unguarded work platforms and through an unguarded trapdoor. Employees working beneath a roller conveyor faced injuries because they were not provided hardhats and other physical protections against being struck by tires dropped onto the conveyor from the second floor. Proper protective equipment, including aprons, gloves and eye and face protection were not provided to employees working with hazardous chemicals or using compressed air hoses and no suitable eye flushing facilities were available for employees using chemicals.
Workers were not trained and provided information on the hazards associated with the chemicals with which they work. They also faced possible serious injuries from untrained forklift operators, obstructed access to emergency exits, an unmarked exit and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, as well as numerous electrical and machine guarding hazards.
"The conditions found at this workplace were disturbing in their number and breadth," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "All workers are entitled to safe and healthful working conditions, appropriate personal protective equipment, information about hazardous chemicals they work with and adequate and sanitary toilet facilities. Such was not the case at this workplace."
Bob's Tire Company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations 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 Braintree area office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (617) 565-6924.
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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