Uncorrected Violations has OSHA Calling

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @ 03:06 PM gHale

S.A. Baxter LLC, an architectural hardware manufacturer, faces $117,920 in additional fines for failing to correct hazards previously cited at the Chester, NY, manufacturing plant, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The follow-up inspection started up in April by OSHA’s Albany Area Office. The company did not implement a specific respiratory protection program for plant workers at its work site, OSHA said. It failed to provide a medical evaluation to determine worker fitness to wear a respirator, fit-test respirators before use by a worker, train workers in fire extinguisher use, mark an exit door and have an exposed opening in an electrical cabinet, OSHA said.

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As a result, OSHA issued six failure-to-abate notices, carrying $101,200 in proposed fines. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice found upon re-inspection where the employer originally received a citation and did not correct.

S.A. Baxter will contest its citations, failure to abate notices and proposed penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“Despite having sufficient time to correct all hazards cited during the previous inspection, this employer failed to do so. Moreover, other hazards were allowed to recur, and new hazards were identified,” said Kim Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “The sizable fines proposed reflect both the severity of these hazards as well as this employer’s failure to take necessary corrective action.”

Three repeat citations, with $13,200 in fines, involve improper storage of respirators, lack of a hazard communication program and no hazard communication training for working with or near hazardous chemicals. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced 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.

Two serious citations, with $3,520 in fines, were for lack of respirator training and an unlighted exit sign. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“A responsible employer will not only correct hazards, but take action to prevent them from occurring in the first place,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “A responsible employer will institute and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program, working with employees to proactively identify and eliminate hazards that can injure or sicken workers.”

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