Small Arms Maker Safety Fines

Monday, April 1, 2013 @ 05:04 PM gHale

Henry RAC Holding Corp. is facing $72,000 in fines for four repeat and four serious safety and health violations, including workers exposed to lead hazards, at the company’s Bayonne, NJ, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The inspection initiated in September after health hazards came to light during an earlier OSHA safety inspection at the facility.

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Carrying a $46,800 penalty, the repeat violations include failing to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program for lead exposure; medically evaluate, conduct fit tests and provide annual training on the proper fit, use, limitation and maintenance for half mask negative pressure respirators to protect against lead; make an initial determination on whether lead exposure was above the action level; ensure surfaces were as free as practicable from lead accumulation; develop and implement a hazard communication program on chemical hazards; and provide training to workers on chemical hazards. A repeat violation occurs when an employer previously faced citations for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations occurred in 2008.

The serious violations, with a $25,200 penalty, involve failing to implement a hearing conservation program and training program and provide annual audiograms for workers exposed to noise above 85 and 90 decibels; properly store a respirator to prevent its exposure to chemicals, such as lead; implement a medical surveillance program for workers who may suffer exposure to lead above the action level; provide medical surveillance at no cost to the worker; and make medical surveillance available upon a worker’s notification of signs and symptoms of lead intoxication. A serious citation 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.

“Exposure to lead and noise in the firearms manufacturing industry has been well-known for decades” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s area office in Parsippany. “OSHA’s standards must be followed to protect workers from exposure that can lead to lead-related illness and occupational hearing loss.”

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