Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-215
Tuesday, November 23, 1999
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE: (617) 565-2074
OSHA PROPOSES OVER $54,000 IN PENALTIES AGAINST SUNCOOK, NEW HAMPSHIRE, TEXTILE MILL FOR ALLEGED REPEAT AND SERIOUS SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Perfect Fit Industries, Inc. (formerly Thomas Hodgson & Sons, Inc.), a Suncook, New Hampshire, textile mill, for alleged Repeat and Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $54,350.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the alleged violations were discovered during safety and health inspections initiated June 15, 1999, in response to an employee complaint. Approximately 127 workers are employed at the mill which is located at 25 Canal Street in Suncook.
"The inspection identified several safety and health deficiencies including failure to guard moving parts on yarn spinning machinery against employee contact, ungrounded or improperly used electrical cords, obstructed exit access and inadequate hearing protection for employees," said May. "Of particular concern is the fact that several of these types of hazards had been identified and cited by OSHA on previous inspections at this mill in 1996 and 1997."
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass:
- Four alleged Repeat violations, accounting for $45,000 of the proposed penalties, for:
- obstructed exit access in that exterior fire doors, when opened, blocked exit access from upper floors;
- employees exposed to unguarded horizontal shafting on ten yarn twister machines;
- missing or broken stopping and starting devices, handles and pedals on ten yarn twister machines;
- an ungrounded power cord; two ungrounded fans.
- [As Thomas Hodgson & Sons, Inc., this facility had previously been cited by OSHA for substantially similar violations in citations issued April 3, 1997 or December 4, 1996].
- Four alleged Serious violations, with $9,350 in penalties proposed, for:
- employees not informed in writing within 21 days after audiograms determined a standard threshold shift in their hearing had occurred; supervision for correct use of hearing protectors not ensured;
- unguarded rotating heads on yarn twister machines;
- unguarded projecting shaft ends on yarn twisters;
- flexible power cord used in place of fixed wiring; defective or damaged electrical equipment and cords not removed from service for repair and testing.
- One alleged Other than Serious violation, with no proposed penalty, for:
- failure to adequately monitor for noise exposure.
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 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. A repeat violation is issued when OSHA has previously cited an employer or facility for a substantially similar violation and that citation has become final. 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.
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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.