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Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-148
Monday, July 26, 1999
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE :(617) 565-2074
OSHA PROPOSES $88,000 IN PENALTIES AGAINST TERRYVILLE, CONN., FOUNDRY FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL, SERIOUS AND REPEAT HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Labor Department has cited O.Z. Gedney, a foundry located in Terryville, Connecticut, for alleged Willful, Serious, Repeat and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $88,000.
According to John J. Stanton, Jr., OSHA area director in Hartford, the alleged violations were discovered during health and safety inspections initiated February 18, 1999. The inspections were conducted under OSHA's site-specific interim targeting program in which OSHA schedules inspections for high-hazard industry workplaces based on their injury and illness rates. Approximately 250 workers are employed at the manufacturing plant, which is located at 100 South Riverside Avenue in Terryville.
"The inspection identified a cross-section of occupational health and safety concerns basic to this sort of manufacturing environment," said Stanton. "Safety issues included defects concerning improperly installed hoists and damaged lifting slings, crane inspections, electrical safety, the safe transfer of combustible fluids, fall protection and the guarding of moving machine parts, while health concerns encompassed instances of insufficient safeguards for employees exposed to excess noise levels or excess airborne concentrations of respirable silica, failure to supply emergency eyewashes for all needed locations, inadequate protections for first aid responders, failure to ensure the use by employees of all required personal protective equipment, inadequate recordkeeping and failure to provide employees with required information on hearing loss in a timely manner."
Specifically, the citations and $88,000 in proposed penalties encompass:
- One alleged Willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $50,000, for:
- employees were exposed to excess noise levels, and a continuing effective hearing conservation program was not provided and all affected employees were not provided with annual hearing conservation training; employees using hearing protection were not refitted and retrained when audiometric testing showed a standard threshold shift indicating a permanent hearing loss; five instances where such threshold shifts were not recorded in the OSHA injury and illness log; and twenty instances where employees were not informed in writing in a timely manner when a review of their annual audiograms identified threshold shifts.
- Fourteen alleged Serious violations, accounting for $29,500 in proposed penalties, for:
- two instances where employees were exposed to excess amounts of respirable crystalline silica and the employer did not institute feasible engineering controls to reduce the exposure level nor provide appropriate respiratory protection;
- all medical response technicians with occupational exposure to blood were not provided annual bloodborne pathogen training nor offered the Hepatitis B vaccine;
- an instance where an employee did not wear fire retardant clothing where required;
- the employer's written assessment of hazards in the workplace did not address a process change which required the use of eye protection;
- failure to ensure that all components of an electrical pump used to transfer a flammable liquid were approved for use in a hazardous location;
- employees exposed to the hazard of being struck by improperly installed or maintained hoist components and/or loads;
- frequent inspections of cranes for defects were not conducted and crane operators did not receive sufficiently detailed training to identify excessive wear on cranes' running ropes;
- fall hazards posed by an unguarded floor hole, an inadequately guarded open-sided mezzanine and missing rails on stairways;
- improperly constructed wire rope slings; torn and damaged nylon sling in use;
- numerous instances of unguarded or inadequately safeguarded moving machine parts, unguarded or inadequately guarded points of operation on machinery and unguarded drive belts;
- several electrical safety hazards, including improperly installed or used electrical equipment; electrical conduits not protected against damage; uncovered junction boxes; ungrounded electrical equipment; power cords lacking grounding conductors; split and damaged insulation on power cords; extension cords used in lieu of permanent wiring; spliced extension cords; flexible cords pulled from their fittings.
- One alleged Repeat violation, with a $7,500 penalty proposed, for:
- emergency eyewashes were not available for immediate use where employees worked with acids [The company had previously been cited for a violation of this OSHA standard or its equivalent in a citation issued October 30, 1997].
The company was also cited for eight alleged Other than Serious hazards, with no cash penalties proposed, for: a blocked exit door; oxygen cylinder coated with dirt and wax; improperly constructed storage room for a flammable liquid; inadequate guard on an abrasive wheel; an improperly fitted compressed air nozzle; unlabeled electrical disconnect box; reverse polarity on an electrical outlet; an inadequate electrical conducting wire.
Stanton urged Connecticut employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area offices in Hartford or Bridgeport 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 willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is defined 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.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.
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