Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-099
Tuesday, June 1, 1999
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE :(617) 565-2075
BEDFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE, EMPLOYER CITED FOR NUMEROUS WORKPLACE SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS BY OSHA; OVER $366,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED FOLLOWING INSPECTION OF CAR COMPONENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Car Component Technologies, Inc., of Bedford, New Hampshire, for numerous alleged WILLFUL, SERIOUS, REPEAT and other-than-serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and has proposed penalties totaling $366,300 for those violations.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the alleged violations were uncovered during an inspection of the company's facilities located at 10 Iron Horse Drive, Bedford, NH, conducted between December 3, 1998 and March 16, 1999. At this plant, the company, which employs 600 workers, re-manufactures drive axles for automobiles and light trucks.
"The safety and health conditions we found in this plant were disturbing," said May. "Our inspection revealed that, since 1994, employees of the company sustained 240 injuries as the result of improper personal protective equipment and/or no personal protective equipment. In addition, employees sustained 57 injuries in accidents resulting from lack of machine guarding.
"On the health side," he continued, "employees were exposed to excessive noise levels, hazardous chemicals and appalling restroom conditions, to name a few. There is simply no excuse for any employer to require their employees to work under such hazardous conditions, especially when the employer has the knowledge and the means to make the necessary improvements."
Consequently, May said, the company is being cited for the following alleged safety and health violations:
- Two alleged WILLFUL violations, carrying total proposed penalties of $99,000 for: failing to provide to employees and require their use of personal protective equipment such as arm gauntlets, puncture resistant gloves, head protection, eye and face protection, and puncture resistant aprons to protect employees from the hazards of flying parts and flying metal slivers; and failing to properly guard air vise machines to protect employees both when the vises were closing and when they opened.
- Fourteen alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $40,500 for: allowing accumulations of ball bearings and axle grease on the floor which created slip and fall hazards; failing to provide guard rails on open-sided, elevated floors; allowing the continued use of a broken portable wooden ladder; failing to identify as such several "permit required confined spaces" (PRCS) in the plant, failing to inform employees of the existence, location and dangers posed by PRCS, failing to develop and implement a PRCS safety program, failing to test PRCS for oxygen content, flammable vapors or toxic air contaminates prior to employee entry, failing to prepare PRCS entry permits and failing to train employees required to enter PRCS; failing to develop and utilize written hazardous energy control procedures for several machines, including annual inspections; failing to provide employee training on hazardous energy control and failing to affix lockout/tagout devices to each energy isolating device; allowing a forklift operator to operate his machine in an unsafe manner; failing to remove an unsafe forklift truck from service; failing to guard machine crush and pinch points; failing to equip a radial arm saw with a power cut out device; failing to properly guard a radial arm saw; failing to guard drive chains and sprockets; exposed electrical bus bars in breaker panels; and the unsafe use of electrical extension cords and supply cables.
- One alleged Other-Than-Serious violation, with no proposed penalty, for failing to chock the rear wheels of highway truck-tractors and trailers to prevent them from rolling while they were boarded with forklifts.
- Four alleged WILLFUL violations, including proposed penalties totaling $198,000 for: failing to establish an audiometric testing program for employees exposed to high noise levels, failing to train such employees and failing to conduct noise monitoring; failing to ensure employees exposed to excessive noise levels were provided with appropriate and suitable hearing protectors; failing to correct unsanitary restroom conditions which included a sink, water cooler and a cracked and leaking toilet, as well as a lavatory with no hot water; incomplete hazard communication program, failing to maintain material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace, and failing to train employees on the hazardous chemicals in their work areas.
- Eight alleged SERIOUS violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $23,400 for: failing to locate sprinkler heads on the downstream and upstream sides of a flammable spray finishing booth filter, and failing to maintain clear space of at least 3 feet on all sides of spray booths; failing to provide employees with protective equipment to guard against contact with chemicals, temperature extremes, thermal burns and hazardous chemical spills and failing to assess the workplace to determine hazards requiring the use of personal protective equipment; failing to provide adequate eye and body flushing facilities; inadequate written exposure control plan for blood borne pathogens; failing to observe universal precautions to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials and failing to provide first-aid responders with appropriate personal protective equipment; allowing potentially contaminated materials to be disposed of in the regular trash; following an incident, failing to make available hepatitis B vaccinations to first aid responders and janitorial staff; failing to ensure appropriate employees participated in blood borne pathogen training.
- One alleged REPEAT violation with a $5,400 penalty for improperly completed logs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
- Five alleged Other-Than-Serious violations carrying no proposed penalties for failing to post a bathroom door as "Not An Exit;" failing to make available the OSHA noise exposure standard in the workplace; allowing employees to consume food and drink in areas exposed to toxic materials; allowing storage of food and beverage in such areas; and failing to maintain surfaces in the workplace as lead-free as possible.
May urged New Hampshire employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Concord. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which 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 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 defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
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 impact on 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, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or 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.