Fall and electrical hazards among problems cited

OSHA has cited a Connecticut manufacturing company for five repeat and 16 serious safety and health violations. OSHA's Hartford Area Office began inspecting the work site in May as part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting program.

The safety inspection resulted in citations for two repeat violations that carry a $10,098 fine; 12 serious violations carry a $59,400 fine. The health inspection resulted in citations for three repeat violations with a $23,760 fine and four serious violations with an $18,810 fine.

In the safety inspection, two repeat safety violations involve using an extension cord instead of the proper fixed wiring and using damaged electrical cords. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for 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.

The serious safety violations include fall hazards, electrical hazards, and a lack of adequate training and safe work procedures to protect workers on or near energized electrical equipment. Additionally, the company failed to inspect and properly tag chain slings used to lift forging dies and ensure blades on a fan had adequate guarding to protect workers from injury. 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.

In the health inspection, the repeat health violations involve failing to have a written hazard communication program available for workers and to use tongue guards properly on machinery. The serious health violations include failing to train workers properly on how to avoid hearing loss and ensure the use of noncombustible or flameproof screens to protect workers engaged in welding operations from exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the generated electric arc.

Another Connecticut contractor previously cited for specific workplace safety hazards in 2012 now faces the possibility of over $167,000 in fines for not implementing the necessary corrections.

"We found no evidence that the employer made any effort to safeguard its workers from these serious hazards that prompted great concern and various citations upon initial inspection," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Left uncorrected, workers are exposed to burns, falls, lacerations, and other potential injuries. For the health and well-being of its workers, the employer must take effective action to correct these hazards and prevent their recurrence."

OSHA's Hartford Area Office launched a follow-up inspection after the employer failed to provide abatement documents proving correction of the 2012 violations. The follow-up inspection identified eight specific hazards left uncorrected, including failing to provide welding screens near welding stations; maintain suitable extinguishing equipment in ready condition during welding operations; provide workers with training on hazardous chemicals in their work area; store oxygen and fuel gas cylinders separately; provide a guardrail; and install safety guards on machinery.

Eight failure-to-abate notifications, with $165,550 in fines, were issued for these conditions. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice for which the employer was originally cited, and upon reinspection, was found uncorrected.

The company also received one serious citation, with a fine of $2,200, regarding blocked access to electrical panels.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its failure-to-abate notices, citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.