Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-110
Thursday, June 10, 1999
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE : (617) 565-2074
OSHA CITES CANTON, MASSACHUSETTS, ENGINEERING FIRM FOR ALLEGED
SERIOUS AND OTHER HAZARDS; PROPOSES OVER $41,000 IN PENALTIES
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Labor Department has cited P.S.I., Incorporated of Canton, Massachusetts for alleged Serious and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and has proposed penalties totaling $41,250.
According to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Southeastern Massachusetts, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated January 21, 1999, in response to an employee complaint and include deficiencies involving electrical safety, fall protection, exit access, fire safety and provision of required information to employees and to OSHA . P.S.I., Inc. is an engineering and consulting firm located at 905 Turnpike Street, Suite H, in Canton. Approximately 27 workers are employed at that location.
"The inspection identified instances of unmarked exits or obstructed access to exits, smoking permitted in an area where a flammable liquid was present, exposed electrical outlets, damaged electrical cords, and an unguarded elevated work platform that also lacked a safe means of access," said Gordon. "In addition, the company failed to measure employees' exposure levels to sulfur dioxide, produced as a byproduct from a concrete testing process, and carbon monoxide, from the building's malfunctioning heating system, did not inform employees of their right of access to their medical and exposure monitoring records and failed, upon request, to provide OSHA with monitoring records, as is required by law."
Specifically, the citations and proposed penalties encompass:
Sixteen alleged Serious violations, accounting for $38,250 in proposed penalties, for:
- an open-sided storage platform located seven feet, four inches, above ground level and used by employees lacked guardrails or other fall protection; a stepladder was used, instead of fixed stairs, to access the same platform;
- obstructed access to two exits; five exit doors not marked as such; two instances of missing exit direction signs ;
- smoking allowed in the same area where a flammable liquid was used; two 55-gallon drums of a flammable liquid were not grounded or bonded against accidental ignition;
- failure to perform exposure assessment monitoring for carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide;
- combustible cardboard stored within three feet of an operating sulfur capping pot that heated concrete samples; a portable fire extinguisher had not been inspected annually;
- live electrical conductors exposed to damage; circuit breakers not labeled to identify what they energized; blocked access to a circuit panel; ungrounded extension cords; metal raceway for a water heater was not metallically joined to provide effective electrical continuity; missing knockout on a junction box; electrical outlets missing faceplates; spliced extension cord used to power equipment; flexible electric cord lacked strain relief;
- containers of hazardous chemicals not labeled with their identity or hazard warning.
Three alleged Other than Serious violations, with $3,000 in penalties proposed, for:
- failure to provide OSHA with records of exposure monitoring; failure to notify employees of their right of access to their medical and exposure monitoring records; and failure to make available to employees information on exposure monitoring records.
Gordon urged southeastern Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Braintree 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.
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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.