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Region 2 News Release:     BOS 2002-224
Monday, October 28, 2002
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075

Explosion at Manhattan Facility Leads to Multiple Safety & Health Inspections
Revealing Numerous Hazards at Three Sign Manufacturers
OSHA Fines total over $115,000

NEW YORK -- A building explosion at an architectural sign manufacturer which injured 31 people and hospitalized 11 employees has resulted in OSHA citations and $115,100 in proposed fines against three employers: Kaltech Industries Group, Inc., Big Apple Signs, Inc., and Signs and Decals Corporation.

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the three companies for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at three manufacturing facilities respectively located at 123 West 19th Street, New York, NY, 247 35th Street, New York, NY and 410 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

According to Richard Mendelson, area director for OSHA's Manhattan Area Office, inspections were conducted at the facilities after an explosion in the basement of Kaltech Industries Group, Inc.'s facility on West 19th Street on April 25, 2002. OSHA immediately responded to that explosion and conducted a comprehensive safety and health inspection.

As a result of that inspection, OSHA conducted comprehensive safety and health inspections as part of a joint enforcement effort with the New York City Fire Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at two other family-owned companies with shared business interests with Kaltech.

As a result of the April 25, 2002, inspection, Kaltech Industries Group, Inc., has been cited for 36 alleged serious violations of OSHA safety and health standards carrying a total proposed penalty of $88,000.

The most severe violations, said Mendelson, had to do with the employer's failure to protect employees from the hazards of mixing incompatible waste chemicals, failure to develop and implement a written hazard communication program, and failure to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals was properly labeled.

Inspections of both Big Apple Signs and Signs and Decals began on May 2, and resulted in Big Apple being cited for eight alleged serious violations carrying proposed penalties of $12,250 and two other-than-serious violations with no penalties. Signs and Decals was cited for 17 alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $14,850.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The investigations were conducted by OSHA's Manhattan area office at 201 Varick St., Room 908. Telephone (212) 620-3200.

A fact sheet summarizing the alleged violations and proposed penalties is attached.

Fact Sheet - OSHA Citations and Proposed Penalties issued to:

Kaltech Industries Group, Inc.
123 West 19th Street, New York, NY

36 alleged serious violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $88,000 including the following:
  • A general duty clause violation for the mixing of incompatible chemicals;

  • A general duty clause violation for the use of PVC pipe as compressed air lines throughout the facility;

  • Lack of a chemical hazard communication program, material safety data sheets not maintained, and no training provided to employees;

  • No labeling on chemical containers;

  • Exit violations including a locked door, no signs, and not having two remote exits from the basement;

  • Violations involving the handling of flammable and combustible liquids including storage outside of proper areas; transfer of flammables in area which was improperly constructed and ventilated, transfer of flammables without bonding the containers;

  • Spray booth violations including electrical equipment not approved for use located inside spray area, improper ventilation and lack of independent spray booth exhaust;

  • No emergency response plan for chemical spills;

  • Personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye/face protection, not provided

  • No written program for the use of respirators, no medical evaluation of employees assigned to wear respirators, no fit test and no training;

  • No training for employees who may use portable fire extinguishers in an emergency;

  • Machine guarding violations such as machines not anchored, unguarded saws and woodworking machines, unguarded grinders, and unguarded belts and pulleys;

  • No lockout tagout program to protect employees from the unexpected release of energy during servicing or maintenance;

  • Arc welding violations including an ungrounded welder and lack of training;

  • Electrical violations such as exposed electrical parts, no continuous ground path, motor disconnect switch not within sight nor labeled, no overload protection for motors, and electrical equipment not rated for hazardous locations;

  • Emergency eye wash and shower not available;

  • Methylene chloride use not monitored.

Big Apple Signs, Inc.
247 35th Street, New York, NY

Eight alleged serious violations with a total proposed penalty of $12,250 for: exit not marked; flammable liquid containers not closed; flammable liquids dispensed without bonding and grounding; no strain relief on permanent machine electrical wiring; no hazard communication program, MSDS not maintained and no training; no labeling on chemical containers; and no written respiratory program, no medical evaluation, no fit test, no cleaning and disinfecting of respirators, and no training.

Two alleged other-than-serious violations with no proposed penalty for: no personal protective equipment hazard assessment and temporary wiring run through a hole in a wall.

Signs and Decals Corporation
410 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Seventeen alleged serious violations with total proposed penalties of $14,850 for: locked exits; sprinkler heads painted shut; low headroom in exit paths; doors not marked with "Not an Exit" warning; no directional exit signs; no storage cabinet for flammable liquids; flammable liquid storage area not diked; clogged spray booth filter; no eye protection; no eye wash and shower; fire extinguishers not mounted; no fire extinguisher training; unguarded fan blades; live exposed electric; no hazard communication program, no training; and no labeling on chemical containers.


The information in this release will be made available to sensory imparied individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617)565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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