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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Whitcraft LLC for 44 alleged serious violations of workplace standards at its Eastford, Conn., aircraft parts manufacturing plant. The company faces a total of $139,680 in proposed fines for fire, explosion, chemical, mechanical and electrical hazards identified during comprehensive safety and health inspections of the plant begun in January of this year.
"These sizable fines reflect the breadth and gravity of the hazardous conditions identified during our inspection at this workplace, conditions which should not have existed in the first place," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's acting area director in Hartford. "For the safety and health of the plant's workers, Whitcraft must address these issues promptly and comprehensively to eliminate them and prevent their recurrence in the future."
The serious citations address numerous instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded moving machine parts that exposed workers to the risk of laceration, amputation or crushing injuries; electrical hazards including misused electrical equipment, lack of safe electrical work practices and personal protective equipment, and employees working on live electrical equipment; fire and explosion hazards stemming from combustible dust in improperly designed processing equipment and dust collection systems; combustible materials stored next to a heated press adjacent to an exit route; flammable liquids used in close proximity to ignition sources, and improper disposal of rags and swabs soaked with flammable liquids.
Additional hazards included inadequate fall protection and not conducting initial monitoring to determine employees' exposure levels to hexavalent chromium. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Whitcraft has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.