C&A faces $108K OSHA fine following fatal accident

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited C&A Metal Finishing Company for one alleged willful and 14 alleged serious violations of federal health and safety standards following a fatal accident at the company's facility in Sunset Hills. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $108,150.

C&A Metal Finishing Company performs mechanical finishing to small metal parts, along with cleaning small metal parts by means of a solvent-based degreasing unit. OSHA initiated its inspection on May 10 in response to a 40-gallon spill of trichloroethylene, which resulted in the hospitalization of two employees, one of whom subsequently died.

"Our inspection revealed that C&A Metal Finishing Company failed to take appropriate action to protect its employees," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful at all times."

The alleged willful violation was issued to the employer for failure to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The serious violations address hazards associated with a lack of load rating signage for places with overhead storage; not developing an emergency response plan for chemical spills; not performing periodic inspections on the trichloroethylene degreasing tank; not providing personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed; failure to certify that a PPE assessment was conducted; failure to establish and maintain a respiratory protection program; not evaluating confined spaces as potential permit-required confined spaces; the lack of an eye-wash station for degreaser employees; not using electrical equipment in accordance with their listing/labeling; unused openings in electrical boxes; employee overexposure to the maximum peak and ceiling levels established for trichloroethylene and not using engineering and or administrative controls to protect employees from overexposure; and not providing hazard communication training on the physical and health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals. Serious violations are those which could result in death or serious physical harm about which the employer knew or should have known.

C&A Metal Finishing Company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found more than 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

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