Aluminum Extruder Faces Safety Fines

Monday, August 4, 2014 @ 06:08 PM gHale

Workers at Keymark Corp.’s aluminum extruding plant on Route 334 in Fonda, NY, suffered exposure to the hazardous substance chromium, high noise levels and falls of up to 17 feet, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials. The company is now facing fines of $53,000.

“These employees faced both short- and long-term risks to their health and well-being, ranging from potentially fatal falls and hearing loss to cumulative damage to the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes from chromium exposure,” said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “Keymark must take prompt and effective action to ensure that these conditions are corrected and do not pose future risk to employees.”

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OSHA found employees faced exposure to high noise levels and Keymark did not ensure the use of hearing protectors or train workers in their use and care. Keymark failed to check that personal protective equipment, clothing and respiratory devices ended up provided, used and maintained in a sanitary condition, and that workers had training to use them.

Keymark failed to determine workers’ exposure levels to chromium and ensure surfaces were free from chromium accumulation; to ensure proper, clean changing areas for employees’ working with chromium; and to ensure that chromium-contaminated clothing ended up stored and transported in sealed containers, OSHA said.

Employees also faced the danger of 17-foot falls into a work pit that lacked a guardrail and potentially ending up caught in or injured by unintended machinery start-up. Procedures and training for turning off machine power sources before maintenance and servicing were lacking, OSHA said.

Because of these conditions, OSHA cited Keystone Corp. for 11 serious violations. 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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