OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Over $42,000 in fines proposed against Good Harbor Fillet Co., Inc.
OSHA CITES GLOUCESTER, MASS., FISH PROCESSOR FOR ALLEGED SERIOUS AND OTHER SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Good Harbor Fillet Company, Inc., a Gloucester, Massachusetts, fish processor, for alleged Serious and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $42,300.
According to Richard Fazzio, OSHA area director for northeastern Massachusetts, the alleged violations were discovered during programmed safety and health inspections conducted between March and September as part of an OSHA local emphasis program focusing on the fish processing industry. Approximately 110 workers are employed at the plant, which is located at 33 Commercial Street in Gloucester.
"The inspection uncovered a cross-section of safety and health violations associated with fish processing," said Fazzio. "They ranged from unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts and exposed live electrical parts to improper or inadequate storage of volatile chemicals and blocked exit access, as well as inadequate safeguards involving the provision and maintenance of personal protective equipment, respirators, hazard communication, hazardous energy control, emergency eyewashes, fire extinguishers, worker training and recording of injuries and illnesses."
"Though numerous of these items were corrected during the course of OSHA's inspection," he said. "they nonetheless exposed workers to such potential hazards as fire, explosion, inhalation of poisonous chemicals, electrocution, burns, laceration and amputation and should not have existed in the first place."
Specifically, the citations and $42,300 in fines encompass:
Eighteen alleged Serious violations, with $41,300 in proposed fines, for:
- failure to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious injury in that employees were exposed to explosion, inhalation and burn hazards from the storage of incompatible chemicals; flammable and combustible chemicals stored in a non-fire resistant cabinet;
- protective equipment not maintained in sanitary and reliable condition; failure to perform a hazard assessment to determine if employees needed personal protective equipment and failure to document the assessment; failure to require protective eye and face equipment for employees working with liquid nitrogen;
- no written respirator program with specific workplace procedures for employees using respirators and failure to provide employees with mandatory information on respirator safety and use; appropriate surveillance for silica exposure not accomplished;
- eyewashes not available for immediate emergency use by employees changing or performing maintenance on vehicle batteries;
- failure to inventory hazardous chemicals, such as ammonia, liquid nitrogen, sulfuric acid, among others, in use in the workplace and failure to train full- and part-time employees about such hazardous chemicals;
- exits from two rooms blocked by pallets weighing from 625 to 1,000 pounds; improper exit doors in one location;
- LPG containers stored next to an exit and a battery charging station; required fire extinguisher not provided at battery charging area;
- waste water treatment tanks that require annual worker entry not identified as permit required confined spaces nor marked as such;
-- no procedures developed to lock out potentially hazardous energy sources while employees performed maintenance on a grinder and blender; no annual review of lockout procedures to ensure requirements were met; employees not trained on hazardous energy control;
- unguarded nip points and rotating parts; mixers used without a guard in place; unguarded pulley; unguarded chain and sprocket;
- compressed air hose connectors not designed for pressure and service to which they were subjected;
- electrical outlet boxes not used or installed properly; unclosed openings in electrical junction boxes; employees exposed to live electrical parts from live bare wires and a broken switch cover; damaged plug connected electrical equipment not visually inspected for defects; damaged cords and cables connecting electrical equipment in use.
One alleged Other than Serious violation, with a proposed fines of $1,000, for:
- failure to record on-the-job injuries and illnesses in a complete and timely manner and failure to provide supplemental information on injuries/illnesses.
Fazzio urged employers and employees in Essex and Middlesex Counties with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Methuen at 617-565-8110 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.
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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