The only way companies will improve their safety standards is by making sure that they are regularly reviewed, along with fined when procedures are not being followed.
With that in mind, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited Har-Conn Chrome Co. Inc. for 15 violations of workplace health and safety standards at the company’s West Hartford plant. The metal finisher faces $66,220 in fines following a complaint that prompted an investigation by OSHA’s Hartford Area Office.
Employees Exposed to Chemical and Mechanical Hazards
“We found employees exposed to various chemical and mechanical hazards, including similar hazards cited during a 2010 inspection of the plant,” remarked Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Left uncorrected, employees are exposed to fire, chemical burns, eye injuries, lacerations and other substances. For the health and well-being of its workers, the employer must take effective action to address and prevent these conditions.”
Specifically, the employer failed to provide emergency eyewash, eye and face protection for workers around caustic liquids; guard or provide adequate guarding on grinders and shafting; and label containers of hazardous chemicals. OSHA cited the plant for similar hazards in May 2010.
For these recurring hazards, OSHA has issued Har-Conn six repeat citations with $36,960 in fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Nine serious citations, with $29,260 in fines, were issued for failing to monitor workers’ exposure levels to formaldehyde; conduct an asbestos survey; provide hand protection; train workers on using fire extinguishers; lack of first-aid supplies; ensure an adequate workspace around spray booths; and properly dispose of combustible waste materials. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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