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Region 2 News Release: 11-1812-NEW/BOS 2012-007
Jan. 10, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites New Windsor, NY, felt manufacturer for
repeat and serious safety hazards; more than $146,000 proposed in penalties

ALBANY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Felt & Filter Co. for 35 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards at its New Windsor plant. The company, which manufactures woolen felt for a variety of products, faces a total of $146,300 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Albany Area Office.

"Our inspections identified numerous safety and health hazards, including several similar to those cited during earlier OSHA inspections of this facility," said Arthur Dube, the agency's acting area director in Albany." Left uncorrected, these hazards expose employees to possible electrocution, crushing and struck-by injuries, being caught in moving machine parts, hearing loss, falls, eye and hand injuries, asbestos and lead."

In addition to identifying machine guarding and electrical hazards, OSHA found that the plant failed to inspect cranes and lifting devices; remove an unsafe powered industrial truck from service; properly stack materials; monitor noise levels, and test and train employees exposed to excessive noise levels; provide first-aid supplies, eye and hand protection, and an emergency eyewash; ensure appropriate respiratory protection and other safeguards for employees exposed to lead; perform asbestos exposure monitoring; identify and label asbestos-containing materials; and provide training for employees on asbestos hazards. These conditions resulted in citations for 32 serious violations carrying $118,580 in penalties. 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.

Three repeat violations carrying $27,720 in fines involve unguarded lathes and failure to implement an effective respiratory protection program. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the plant for similar hazards in 2007.

"One means of preventing new and recurring hazards is to implement and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

American Felt & Filter Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmericanFeltandFilterCo-315750224-12282011.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmericanFeltandFilterCo-313764250-12282011.pdf*.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Albany office at 518-464-4338.

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.


* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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