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Region 1 News Release: 11-1129-BOS/BOS 2011-272
Aug. 1, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Putnam, Conn., filter manufacturer
for safety and health hazards; more than $121,000 in fines proposed

HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pallflex Co. for 29 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Putnam manufacturing plant. The filter manufacturer faces a total of $121,650 in proposed fines following a comprehensive OSHA inspection opened in January.

"The sizable penalties proposed here reflect the breadth and severity of the conditions found during this inspection," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Left uncorrected, they expose employees to injury, illness or death from falls, lacerations, being caught in moving machinery, electrocution, fire, hearing loss, or being overcome by an oxygen-deficient or toxic atmosphere while working in a confined space. Effective steps must be taken to correct these conditions and prevent their recurrence."

OSHA's inspection identified a variety of hazards that can occur in a manufacturing environment, resulting in citations for 24 serious violations carrying $120,650 in proposed fines. They include fall hazards from unguarded tank platforms; improper storage and dispensing of flammable liquids; inadequate personal protective equipment; lack of a confined space program and procedures to safeguard workers who enter storage tanks; no annual fire extinguisher training; unguarded operating machine parts; several electrical-related hazards; lack of a hearing conservation program; and failure to perform initial formaldehyde exposure monitoring. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Additionally, five other-than-serious violations with $1,000 were cited, including improperly maintained OSHA illness and injury logs. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Pallflex Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office; telephone 860-240-3152. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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