OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-023
Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Ted Fitzgerald, (617) 565-2074
OSHA CITES HUDSON, NEW HAMPSHIRE, MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED SERIOUS, REPEAT AND OTHER SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; PROPOSES OVER $45,000 IN PENALTIES
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Labor Department has cited Concrete Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of precast concrete products located in Hudson, New Hampshire, for alleged Serious, Repeat and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $45,403.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the alleged violations were discovered during safety and health inspections conducted between November 1998 and January 1999, as part of a national emphasis program in which OSHA targets inspections to firms which have a higher than average illness and injury rate for their industry. Approximately 85 workers are employed at the Hudson plant which is located at 15 Commercial Avenue.
"The inspection uncovered a wide variety of safety and health hazards including inadequate fall protection, employees working under suspended loads, inadequate employee training, confined space entry hazards, lack of eye protection, deficiencies in the operation of overhead cranes and fork trucks, electrical hazards, and the absence of a hearing conservation program for employees exposed to excess noise levels," said May. "Left uncorrected, these items expose employees to the hazards of electrocution, suffocation, laceration, amputation, falls, hearing damage, as well as being struck by forklift trucks, caught in moving machinery or crushed by overhead loads.
"These citations involve basic safety concerns for a manufacturing environment," he said. "None of them are exotic or arcane; all of them must be addressed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for the employees at this plant."
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass the following:
Twenty alleged Serious violations, with $42,403 in proposed penalties, for:
an employee working under a suspended concrete bucket; crane operator left controls while a load was suspended over employees; warning signals were not sounded when hooks or loads of overhead cranes approached near or over workers;
employee operating a rebar cutter that lacked a guard on its point of operation; unguarded fan blades; unguarded hand-fed ripsaw; ripsaw missing a spreader; ripsaw lacked non-kickback fingers; chop saws not guarded at point of operation; unguarded drive belts and pulleys on an air compressor;
fall hazards posed by employees standing on barrels to do work, a fixed metal ladder that lacked a cage or well, an unguarded open-sided platform, and absence of a work platform where employees were working above machinery;
no hearing conservation program for employees exposed to excess noise levels;
failure to survey the workplace to identify permit-required confined spaces and failure to inform employees of the existence of and dangers posed by such confined spaces; failure to evaluate confined space conditions prior to worker entry and failure to provide at least one attendant outside the confined space during entry; failure to adequately train employees in confined space entry;
failure to adequately train employees in the purpose, function, procedures and equipment needed to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance; lockout not performed on all energy sources prior to entering concrete batch mixer; lockout devices not affixed during worker entry;
employees operating forklifts with installed seat belts did not use those seatbelts; employees not trained in the safe operation of forklift trucks; forklift truck left unattended with its engine running, its forks raised, and its wheel not blocked against movement; truck operators not required to sound their horns at cross aisles or when vision was obstructed; nameplates and marking not in place on forklifts; trucks with defective horns not removed from service; trucks not inspected at least daily before being placed in service;
oxygen cylinders stored next to acetylene cylinders; exposed live electrical parts on a wall-mounted outlet;
Two alleged Repeat violations, with $3,000 in proposed penalties, for:
employees did not consistently use eye protection while operating woodworking equipment such as circular saws;
inadequate strain relief for a power cord. [The company had previously been cited by OSHA for substantially similar violations in citations issued December 23, 1997 and March 5, 1998, respectively].
Ten alleged Other than Serious violations, with no fines proposed, for:
lunch tables, refrigerator, water cooler, and microwave oven grossly contaminated with settled dust and generally filthy; unemptied and uncovered garbage cans in the lunchroom; employees not provided information and training on the company's hazard communication program; obstructed aisle and stairwell; load limits not posted in maintenance shop mezzanine; uncovered floor holes; no certification that energy control program had been periodically inspected; blocked access to a circuit breaker panel; missing knockouts on electrical switch boxes; electrical equipment I use in carpenter shop had not been approved for a Class III, Division 1, location.
May urged Granite State employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Concord at 603-225-1629 and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline --1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)-- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees. A repeated violation is defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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