OSHA has cited Plainville, Connecticut, construction contractor Manafort Brothers Inc. for exposing workers to mercury and respirator hazards while they dismantled a mercury boiler at a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, worksite.

The company faces penalties of $329,548.

OSHA’s inspection—in response to workers’ complaints—found that employees were being exposed to high levels of mercury during the demolition, and Manafort Brothers Inc. was not taking steps to reduce those exposures to below permissible levels.

In addition, agency officials said the company did not evaluate the respirator program’s effectiveness in protecting workers against exposures and did not consult with the employees to identify and correct any respirator problems.

'Certainly Preventable'

“These hazards were certainly preventable,” said OSHA’s New Hampshire Area Director Rosemarie O. Cole.

“High mercury exposure can result in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. It is critically important that employers remain vigilant and ensure that effective safeguards are in place to prevent and minimize workers’ exposures.”

OSHA cited the company for two willful and six serious violations concerning mercury, respirators, protective clothing, and sanitary conditions.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.