Repeat Safety Issues for CT Chute Maker

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @ 12:01 PM gHale

U.S. Chutes Corp. exposed employees to chemical, mechanical, electrical and respiratory hazards during the manufacturing process at its Bantam, CT, plant, and is facing a fine of $94,248, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

U.S. Chutes is a manufacturer of galvanized chutes for laundry and trash conveyors.

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“U.S. Chutes’ employees risked illness from toxic chemical exposure and inadequate respiratory safeguards and faced injury from electric shock, lacerations, crushing and burns. Particularly disturbing was that several hazards were similar to those cited by OSHA in November 2009,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “The company must promptly and effectively correct these conditions because the health and well-being of its employees cannot be compromised.”

After receiving a complaint, an OSHA inspection began on July 10. OSHA discovered nine repeated and 15 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at the site. The inspection identified hazards, including an out-of-date respiratory protection program for employees who welded and spray painted; no medical evaluations and fit testing for workers who wore respirators; and no hazard analysis to know what protective equipment employees needed. U.S. Chutes also failed to train employees on health hazards and monitoring levels of exposure to hexavalent chromium a known carcinogenic substance; allowed mechanical power press operation without safety guards; and permitted exposed wiring in electrical panels and improperly used electrical power cords.

A repeat violation exists when an employer faced previous citations 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. 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.

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