Safety Issues with Brake Maker

Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 02:06 PM gHale

Motor vehicle brake system maker Nucap U.S. Inc. is facing $55,505 in fines for 17 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Watertown, CT, manufacturing plant, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s Hartford Area Office started its investigation in February in response to a complaint.

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Inspectors found several hazardous conditions involving mechanical power presses used in the manufacturing process. These included lack of an arming button or other safeguard to prevent unintended operation of a press, lack of an air-pressure switch to ensure prompt stopping of a press operation in the event of a pressure supply power loss, unsecured barrier guards and failure to routinely use die blocks when employees worked on dies in the presses.

“The absence of these safeguards means that employees are vulnerable to crushing and amputation injuries from the unintended operation of a press or from entering a press’ point of operation,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Other cited conditions expose workers to the possibility of electrocution, hearing loss, exposure to blood and body fluids and exposure to hazardous chemicals. For the safety and health of its workers, this employer must address all of these hazards effectively and expeditiously.”

Additional hazards identified during the inspection include lack of training and personal protective equipment for employees performing maintenance on live electrical equipment; not providing baseline audiograms and annual audiometric testing to employees exposed to excessive noise levels; no written exposure control program for employees acting as first responders; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; improper storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders; improper disposal of combustible materials; unguarded grinding equipment; and failure to annually review the plant’s hazardous energy control program.

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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