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Region 3 News Release: 09-538-PHI (osha 09-58)

May 21, 2009
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5101

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA cites Sulzer Metco Coating with 23 violations and fines after a worker fatality

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Sulzer Metco Coating with 23 alleged serious safety and health violations following the death of a worker.

"Sulzer Metco Coating needs to take immediate action to eliminate each identified violation to prevent another tragic fatality," said Jeff Funke, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office.

OSHA began its investigation Feb. 25 following the death of a worker who was pulled into a large piece of lathe machinery that did not have proper machine guarding. Other serious violations included blocked or locked exit routes; lack of proper fire protection equipment and training; inadequate fork truck training; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; lack of a hazard communication program; exposure to noise at levels greater than the permissible exposure limit; inadequate means to ensure supplied air for respirators is breathing quality; and hexavalent chromium issues including surface contamination, lack of protective gear for skin exposure and improper cleaning techniques for areas where hexavalent chromium was present.

OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Citations issued carry proposed penalties totaling $56,250.

The company, which employs 285 workers nationwide, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Charleston, W.Va., or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Charleston Area Office; telephone: 304-347-5937.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting almost 39,000 inspections and finding nearly 88,000 violations of its standards and regulations in fiscal year 2008.

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.

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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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