Connecticut Firm Cited After Employee Amputation

HR & Safety

Three other companies also face OSHA fines

Newington Manufacturer Cited by OSHA for Multiple Hazards After Employee Amputation

West Hartford Stairs and Cabinets has been cited by OSHA for 16 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its 17 Main St. manufacturing plant in Newington. This follows inspections conducted by OSHA’s Hartford Area Office in response to an April 14, 2014, incident in which an employee lost parts of two fingers in an inadequately guarded machine. The manufacturer of stairs and cabinets faces $60,200 in fines.

“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 that employees were 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 flammable liquids were used. 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.

Employees Exposed to Potentially Fatal Fall Hazards at Bridgeport Work Site

New Haven roofing contractor employees were exposed to potentially fatal falls at a Bridgeport work site due to their employer’s deliberate failure to supply required fall protection.

OSHA’s Bridgeport Area Office found employees of Xtreme Restoration & Waterproofing LLC working without fall protection atop a two-story roof at a residential work site at 1040-1044 Stratford Ave. on June 16, 2014.

“Some workers lacked any fall protection, while others had safety harnesses that were not tied off to an independent anchorage point. This meant there was nothing to stop these workers from falling and suffering a deadly or disabling injury,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport. “These hazards were intensified by allowing workers to use a ladder with broken and damaged rungs to access the roof and by failing to train employees to recognize and protect themselves against these hazards.”

OSHA cited Xtreme Restoration & Waterproofing for a willful violation for lack of fall protection. The company received a repeat violation for lack of fall protection training, which OSHA had cited the company for in 2011 at a Branford job site.

Two serious violations were cited for using a ladder with damaged and broken rungs to access the roof and for not training employees on ladder hazards and safeguards. The company faces $70,070 in fines for these violations.

Falls are the leading killer in construction work, responsible for the deaths of three Connecticut workers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards among workers, employers and the public, OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

Manchester, Connecticut, Contractor Cited for 25 Serious Violations

Manchester-based Rockville Construction LLC has been cited by OSHA for 25 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The contractor, responsible for the Hockanum Mill renovations in Rockville, faces $107,100 in fines for inadequate safeguards against lead exposure, respirator deficiencies, falls, and electrical hazards.

“The numerous hazards found at this work site exposed employees to potential long-term health hazards from lead contamination and to immediate safety hazards from falls and electrocution,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “These basic health and safety safeguards should have been implemented before the work started. Moving forward, these hazards need to be corrected effectively and expeditiously.”

Lead exposure can cause long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems. The lead-related hazards found at the Hockanum Mill work site included employee exposure to high lead levels from scraping lead-containing paint; the employer’s failure to provide effective controls to reduce lead exposure levels; failure to determine lead exposure levels or conduct biological monitoring; and failure to train employees about lead hazards and safeguards. The company did not determine if the hazardous substances cadmium and arsenic were at the work site.

In addition, the company had no written respiratory protection program, did not train its employees on the purpose, selection, fitting, use and limitations of respirators, and failed to conduct medical evaluations to determine workers’ fitness to wear respirators.

The job site also lacked a hazard communication program to inform employees about the dangers present in their work area. Employees were exposed to falls from an unguarded work platform, to electric shock from ungrounded electrical outlets and mislabeled or misused electrical equipment.

The citations can be viewed here and here.

Wolcott Roofing Contractor Cited for Fall Hazards After Fatal Worker Fall

The death of a 28-year-old worker who fell 18 feet from a roof could have been prevented if proper fall protection safeguards had been used by M&M Roofing, of Wolcott, an inspection by OSHA’s Hartford Area has found.

The employee was removing shingles from the roof of a house at 89 Flintrock Road on July 12, 2014, in Watertown, Connecticut, when he fell, dying four days later as result of his injuries. OSHA’s inspection found that, while the worker was wearing a safety harness, it was not tied to an independent anchorage point when he fell.

“Being tied to an independent anchorage point is a critical element of fall protection. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop a worker from falling and suffering a fatal or disabling injury,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “While nothing can bring this young man back to his loved ones or coworkers, employers and workers should be aware of this needless loss of life and take steps to review their fall protection programs, so that future incidents like this one can be prevented.”

OSHA cited M&M Roofing for similar hazards three times since 2011 at work sites in Enfield, Wolcott, and Manchester. Following the latest inspection, it cited the company for a repeat violation for failure to provide workers with fall protection at the Watertown job site. M&M Roofing was also cited for two serious violations for an unguarded skylight and for allowing employees to work close to a powered electrical line.

M&M Roofing faces a total of $40,600 in fines.

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