The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Hampford Research Inc., a Stratford, Conn., chemical products manufacturer, for 32 alleged serious and other-than-serious violations of safety and health standards at its 54 Veterans Blvd. plant. The company faces a total of $42,750 in proposed fines.

On
August 9, 2007, an employee suffered burns while attempting to clean up a chemical spill caused by a forklift that hit a barrel containing thionyl chloride.

"OSHA's inspection found that the plant's plan and procedures for responding to chemical spills were inadequate and incomplete, needlessly exposing responders to injury," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in
Bridgeport. "We also identified other safety and health hazards associated with a chemical manufacturing environment. All of these conditions must be promptly, thoroughly and effectively addressed and corrected to safeguard employees."

Regarding the spill and cleanup, OSHA found that the company did not: conduct evaluations to determine cleanup hazards; assess the controls and protective equipment needed for responders and the capabilities of the responders; obtain appropriate information about the spilled chemical; establish and implement a decontamination procedure; or make proper respiratory protection available.

Additional hazards identified at the plant include: deficiencies in its respiratory protection, hazardous energy control, chemical process safety management and hazard communication programs; tripping and fall hazards; not verifying employees' abilities to safely operate fork trucks; unsafe means for dispensing flammable liquid from a 55-gallon drum; unguarded moving machine parts; and failure to establish a regulated area and take air samples for employees working with methylene chloride.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of 26 serious citations with $41,750 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The company also was issued six other-than-serious citations, with $1,000 in proposed fines, primarily for incomplete recording of occupational injuries and illnesses.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office (telephone 203-579-5581).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of
America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.