OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
As the result of a followup inspection, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pro Tech Armored Products of Dalton, Massachusetts, for alleged Repeat and Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and for failure to abate previously cited hazards. OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $58,333 against the company, which manufactures protective devices, including armor plating for vehicles.
According to Ronald E. Morin, OSHA area director for central and western Massachusetts, OSHA inspected the plant, which is located at 158 and 190 Hubbard Avenue, between January and March 1999, in response to an employee complaint. In March 1999, OSHA cited Pro Tech for 28 Serious and Other than Serious violations. Pro Tech subsequently paid a fine of $16,425 and agreed to correct all the cited hazards. OSHA's followup inspection, conducted between February and May of this year, identified six instances where the company had not adequately abated hazards.
"Although the company made significant progress in correcting most of the conditions cited in the 1999 inspection, there were still several instances where specific hazards, chiefly involving protection against lead hazards for an employee performing test firing and cleanup work in the plant's testing range, had not been adequately dealt with," said Morin. "In addition, the latest inspection identified additional hazards involving electrical safety, machine guarding and required monitoring for lead exposure."
Specifically, the citations and $58,333 in proposed penalties encompass:
Six instances of failure to abate previously cited hazards, carrying proposed penalties of $32,333, for:
failure to develop and implement a written respirator program for employees wearing respirators for protection against spray paints, welding fumes and lead;
failure to medically evaluate spray painters and a test range operator to determine their fitness to wear respirators;
a test range employee exposed to excess lead levels was not required to wear protective clothing;
the exposed test range employee was not required to shower at the end of the work shift;
the exposed test range employee was not provided with an initial respirator fit test;
the open side of a flight of stairs was not provided with a midrail.
[A failure to abate notice is issued when an employer has agreed to correct a cited hazard but a subsequent OSHA inspection finds that the specific hazard has not been corrected.]
Two alleged Repeat violations, with $20,000 in penalties proposed, for:
the respirator used by the exposed test range employee was not approved for protection against lead;
a portable halogen work light was used to provide illumination in a paint spray booth during spraying activities.
[A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar violation as the result of a previous OSHA inspection and that citation has become final.]
Three alleged Serious violations, with $6,000 in proposed penalties, for:
fan, light switches and wiring for a paint spray booth were not approved for a Class 1 Division 2 hazardous location;
the brake on a 200 ton hydraulic press was not guarded against accidental contact;
quarterly lead exposure monitoring was not performed as required.
[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.]
Morin urged central and western Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Springfield at 413-785-0123 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.
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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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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