OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 News Release: 08-1885-BOS/BOS 2009-005
Mon., Jan. 12, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $115,500 in fines against Kahr Arms of Worcester, Mass., for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Goddard Memorial Drive manufacturing plant and testing facility.
The citations and fines follow OSHA inspections initiated in response to employee complaints and chiefly concern inadequate safeguards against employees' overexposure to lead on the plant's firing ranges and to being struck by rebounding fragments during test firing of weapons.
"Adequate safeguards were not present to reduce and minimize the effects of these hazards on employees' health and safety," said Mary Hoye, OSHA's area director in Springfield.
Specifically, OSHA found that the plant did not perform the required quarterly monitoring to determine employees' lead exposure levels during range-clearing operations and did not implement engineering controls to reduce those exposure levels. These conditions resulted in the issuance of two willful citations with $98,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
OSHA also issued the company seven serious citations, with $17,500 in fines, for additional deficiencies in lead monitoring and controls, lack of protective clothing, not requiring lead-exposed employees to shower at the end of each work shift, deficiencies in the plant's respirator program and failing to adequately shield employees against being struck by rebounding bullet fragments during test-firing operations. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Lead is a cumulative poison that can, over time, damage the body's blood, nervous, neurological and reproductive systems. OSHA standards mandate the steps employers must take to protect their employees against lead exposure. Detailed information about lead hazards and safeguards, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to meet with OSHA or to contest them to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Springfield Area Office; telephone 413-785-0123.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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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