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Region 2 News Release: 11-1131-NEW (osha 11-082)
August 1, 2011
Contact: Joanna Hawkins     Leni Fortson
Phone: 215-861-5101     215-861-5102
Email: hawkins.joanna@dol.gov     uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Fairfield, NJ, manufacturer
for exposing workers to chemicals, other hazards

FAIRFIELD, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited GPR Co. Inc. for 18 serious and three other-than-serious workplace safety and health violations, including exposure to methylene chloride, at its Fairfield facility. OSHA initiated an inspection on April 20 as part of its Site-Specific Targeting program for employers with high injury and illness rates. Proposed penalties total $59,290.

"Exposure to methylene chloride is very dangerous and poses serious health risks, including an increased risk of cancer and adverse effects on the heart, central nervous system, liver and skin," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "It is vital that the company eliminate these hazards to protect its employees."

Some of the serious violations include failing to provide proper guards on machines and equipment; properly use and install equipment; provide leak detection and provisions to contain spills and safely dispose of materials contaminated with methylene chloride; ensure stairway handrails were the correct height and exit routes had the correct clearance; ensure signs directing travel to an exit route were clearly visible; properly dispose of combustible rags; properly store propane containers; implement a lockout/tagout program to prevent machinery from unexpectedly starting up while workers perform servicing and maintenance; provide fire extinguisher training and ensure fire extinguishers were properly mounted and identified; conduct preventative maintenance on cranes; conduct monitoring for employees who were exposed to methylene chloride; develop and implement a chemical hazard communication program; communicate to workers the hazards associated with methylene chloride; provide training and information to workers about potential exposure to methylene chloride and other hazardous chemicals in the work area; provide protective gloves resistant to methylene chloride; provide emergency eye wash facilities; and maintain copies of material safety data sheets for hazardous materials in the workplace and make them accessible to employees for each work shift.

The other-than-serious violations involve the employer's failing to mark a mezzanine with a load rating; provide truck operators with training and evaluation prior to operation of the vehicle; and provide information to employees voluntarily using respirators.

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. 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.

GPR manufactures precision parts for customers within the U.S. and employs 44 workers at the Fairfield site.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany office; telephone 973-263-1003. 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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