US Salt fined for serious hazards at Watkins Glen, N.Y., plant

RP news wires

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited U.S. Salt LLC for 37 alleged serious violations of workplace standards at its Watkins Glen, N.Y., manufacturing plant.

The manufacturer of food-grade and pharmaceutical-grade salt faces a total of $111,600 in proposed fines for crushing, fall, fire, mechanical and electrical hazards identified during a comprehensive safety inspection of the plant begun in March of this year.

"These sizable fines reflect the breadth and gravity of the hazardous conditions identified during our inspection at this workplace," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "For the safety of the plant's workers, U.S. Salt must address these issues promptly and comprehensively to eliminate them now and prevent their recurrence in the future."

OSHA found that workers were exposed to potential crushing hazards from two sources: damaged building structural support columns and lifting hooks that had not been rated to determine how much they could safely lift. OSHA also identified numerous electrical hazards, including unguarded or ungrounded electrical equipment, unapproved outlets in wet locations, misused electrical cords, lack of electrical safety-related work practices and lack of personal protective equipment, as well as several instances of unguarded moving machine parts, including power presses, grinders and fans.

Other cited conditions include an obstructed exit door, failure to maintain the building sprinkler system, not bonding flammable containers, lack of fire extinguisher training, tripping and fall hazards, unapproved modifications to a forklift and pressure vessels lacking pressure ratings and gauges. 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.

U.S. Salt 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.

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