OSHA fines N.Y. company after hydrochloric acid spill

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

A North Collins, N.Y., manufacturer of consumer cleaning products faces a total of $272,900 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a variety of alleged health and safety hazards following a September 7, 2006, hydrochloric acid spill. Crescent Marketing Inc., doing business as Crescent Manufacturing, was cited for a total of 39 alleged violations of health and safety standards and for failing to correct a hazard cited in a previous OSHA inspection.

"Our inspections found serious deficiencies in the company's emergency response program, including an incomplete emergency response plan, untrained responders, lack of respirator procedures and absence of medical consultations for employees who showed signs of possible exposure to hazardous substances," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "In addition, we identified a range of other hazards at the plant including conditions that had been cited in earlier OSHA inspections."

The company was issued three willful citations, carrying $148,500 in proposed fines, for failing to provide medical evaluations, fit-testing and training to employees on respirator use. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seven repeat citations, with $40,400 in proposed fines, were issued for lack of hand protection, eyewash facilities and hazard communication training for employees working with hazardous substances; lack of hazardous energy control procedures and training; and electrical hazards. OSHA cited Crescent Manufacturing for similar hazards in 2004 and 2006.

Forty-one serious violations, with $58,000 in proposed fines, were issued for the emergency response deficiencies as well as for hazards involving blocked aisles, obstructed exit access, unsecured materials and equipment, powered industrial trucks, machine guarding, compressed gas storage and additional electrical hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company was fined an additional $24,000 for failing to correct a specific hazard cited in a previous OSHA inspection. Although it had agreed, following a 2006 OSHA inspection, to provide quick drenching shower facilities in the facility's "clean room," these were not provided.

One other than serious citation, with a $2,000 proposed fine, was issued for incomplete recording of work-related injuries and illnesses.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Buffalo or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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