Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-113
Tuesday, June 15, 1999
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE :(617) 565-2075
HOLYOKE, MASS., PUZZLE MANUFACTURER CITED BY OSHA FOR WORKPLACE SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS; OVER $97,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
Edaron, Inc., of Holyoke, Massachusetts, a manufacturer of paper puzzles and games, has been cited by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor for alleged WILLFUL and SERIOUS violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The agency has proposed penalties totaling $97,400 for the alleged violations.
According to Ronald Morin, OSHA area director in Springfield, the alleged violations were uncovered during inspections of the company's two facilities located at 333 North Canal Street and 100 Appleton Street, respectively. Morin noted that the inspection at the company's main plant (Appleton St.) began on December 16, 1998, as the result of an accident in which an employee had the fingers of her left hand amputated and received serious injuries to all the fingers of her right hand after catching both hands in a puzzle press. The inspection of the Canal St. warehouse facility began on January 12, 1999, and resulted from a fatal accident in which a worker standing on an unsecured work platform being raised by a forklift truck fell with the platform and was killed. Both inspections were concluded on April 20, 1999.
"These tragic accidents," said Morin, "are made even more tragic by the fact that this employer was well aware of the specific safety requirements covering the equipment involved in both of these events. Both accidents could have been prevented if the employer had simply taken the necessary steps to ensure the safe operation of this equipment."
Consequently, he noted, Edaron, Inc., is being cited for the following alleged violations:
APPLETON STREET INSPECTION:
- One alleged WILLFUL violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $63,000 for failing to provide adequate guarding at the point of operation on a puzzle press.
- Eleven alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $19,600 for: no seatbelts on forktrucks; deficient lockout/tagout program including lack of certified inspections; defective forktrucks not removed from service; failing to guard ingoing nip points and rotating parts on machines; failing to guard machine points of operation; grinder lacked wheel tongue guards; unguarded shaft ends; unsecured gas cylinders, oxygen, nitrogen and acetylene gas cylinders stored together and acetylene cylinder stored at emergency exit; exposed live electrical parts; and an ungrounded lighting fixture.
- Thirteen alleged "other-than-serious" violations with no proposed penalties for various minor safety hazards.
CANAL STREET INSPECTION:
- Six alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $14,800 for: allowing employees to use an improperly constructed, unsecured work platform, and allowing a forktruck to handle an unstable load; no seatbelts on forktrucks; hinged dockboards not guarded; lack of sufficient, properly marked exits; LP gas containers stored at exit and LP gas in storage exceeded allowed limits; and, reversed polarity on electrical conductors.
- Four alleged other-than-serious violations with no proposed penalties for: doorways that were not exits not marked "Not an Exit;" no directional signs indicating nearest exit; damaged forktrucks not removed from service; and use of unapproved flexible electrical cords and cables.
Morin urged Western Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Springfield. 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. 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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