Region 2 News Release: NY 114
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz, (212) 337-2319
SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL AND SERIOUS HEALTH VIOLATIONS: $161,500 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Airtron, Division of Litton Systems, Inc., of 200 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Plains, New Jersey, and proposed penalties of $161,500 against the firm, for two alleged willful and twelve alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until February 24 to contest the citations.
According to David J. Ippolito, OSHA area director, the action results from an inspection of the facility conducted from August 6, through December 2, 1998, following an uncontrolled release of inorganic arsenic on August 3, which required sending three employees who might have been exposed to the chemical to Morristown Memorial Hospital for observation. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving an anonymous complaint describing an incident involving the uncontrolled release of inorganic arsenic.
OSHA alleges that the company is responsible for two willful violations of OSHA standards for failing to establish regulated areas for employees exposed to inorganic arsenic in excess of the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, and for not properly training employees on the hazards associated with inorganic arsenic. The alleged willful violations carry a total proposed penalty of $110,000.
Patricia K. Clark, OSHA regional administrator, said, "OSHA is committed to stringent enforcement of those workplaces where employers willfully violate OSHA standards. It is important for employers to know that in cases such as this, OSHA will take aggressive enforcement action so that others are put on notice that intentionally disregarding employee safety and health is an unacceptable way to do business and cannot be tolerated."
OSHA also cited the employer for twelve alleged serious violations, including:
exposing employees to gallium arsenide released from a crystal growing process.
not providing safety glasses to employees wearing prescription lenses.
not providing employees with respirator fit testing.
not conducting sampling for each job classification on each shift and at specified intervals.
failing to ensure that employees were not exposed to inorganic arsenic in excess of the permissible exposure limit.
not instituting engineering controls and work practices.
not establishing a written compliance program.
not providing appropriate personal protective equipment.
not ensuring that all surfaces remained free of accumulated inorganic arsenic.
not providing clean change rooms and shower facilities.
not establishing a medical surveillance program to include annual and termination physicals.
The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $51,500.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany area office, located at 299 Cherry Hill Road, RM 304, Parsippany, NJ 07054. Telephone (973) 263-1003.
This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request.
Voice phone: (212) 337-2319; TDD phone: 800-347-8029; OASAM TDD message referral phone number: 800-326-2577.