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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $138,500 in penalties after an inspection at AAR Summa Technology's Cullman, Ala., manufacturing plant revealed 26 safety and five health violations.
"The hazards found during this inspection endanger both the safety and the long-term health of the 170 employees at this facility," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham.
Inspectors identified 24 serious safety violations including unsafe storage of reactive chemicals, cryogenic tanks exposed to damage from moving equipment, an improperly equipped paint booth that lacked a fire suppression system, and improper storage and handling of flammable liquids. Employees lacking the proper protective equipment and work areas presented safety and fire hazards. Two repeat safety violations have been cited for failing to post danger signs in appropriate areas, and failing to develop and utilize lockout/tagout procedures, which are intended to prevent unintended machine startup. The company had been cited for similar violations after a 2005 inspection at its Huntsville, Ala., plant.
In addition, OSHA has identified three serious health violations that address hazards associated with over-exposure to silica and zinc oxide fumes, and occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Two other-than-serious health violations have been cited for deficiencies with the respiratory protection program.
AAR Summa Technology, which fabricates containerized pallets for the U.S. military at this site, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.