Cabinet Maker Cited for Chemical, Fire Hazards

Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 05:10 PM gHale

West Hartford Stairs and Cabinets is facing $60,200 in fines for 16 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Newington, CT, manufacturing plant, said officials of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This follows inspections conducted by OSHA’s Hartford Area Office in response to an April 14 incident in which an employee lost parts of two fingers in an inadequately guarded machine. The company manufactures stairs and cabinets.

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“This is exactly the type of serious injury that proper guarding of a machine’s operating parts would have prevented,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Equally disturbing were the fire, chemical and electrical hazards identified during our inspections. It’s imperative that this employer take prompt and effective corrective action to eliminate these hazards and prevent their recurrence.”

In addition to the machine guarding hazards, OSHA found employees ended up exposed to fire hazards from a dust collection system that lacked a spark detector to prevent hot metal from entering the dust collector and igniting an explosion. Other fire hazards included improper disposal of flammable rags; accumulations of flammable chemicals on spray booth walls and combustible dust in electrical outlets; and failure to have at least two emergency exits from the spraying room where workers used flammable liquids. Additional safety hazards included employees’ exposure to falls from an unguarded second-story work platform and eye injuries from using inadequate safety glasses.

The company failed to conduct hazard assessments for proper protective clothing and ensure employees wore protective gloves when working with hazardous chemicals; have an emergency eyewash station; train employees in the physical and health hazards of hazardous chemicals; provide adequate hazard communication training and a hearing threshold exam for an employee exposed to high noise levels; and train employees about noise hazards and health hazards of methylene chloride.

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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