Mantrose-Haeuser Company Inc., an Attleboro, Mass., manufacturer of industrial and pharmaceutical food coatings, faces $192,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company was cited for a total of 29 alleged repeat, willful and serious violations of safety and health standards at its 113 Olive Street plant following a July 17, 2007, incident in which an employee lost his hand when it became caught in an unguarded rotating valve of a dust collection hopper.

Because the plant was cited for a similar hazard in April 2005, this lack of machine guarding resulted in OSHA issuing the company a repeat citation with a proposed fine of $35,000. Two other repeat citations, carrying $25,000 in fines, were issued for unguarded work platforms and an emergency exit door that could not be opened. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become final.

OSHA’s inspection also found that the plant had not developed and implemented required procedures to shut down machines and lock out their power sources to prevent their unintended startup. This situation resulted in the issuance of one willful citation carrying a proposed fine of $70,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Additionally, 25 serious citations, with $62,000 in fines, were issued for hazards involving blocked, obstructed and unmarked emergency exit doors and routes; lack of lockout/tagout devices and training; trip and fall hazards; fire extinguishers not being readily available; deficiencies in respirator training and fitting; confined space hazards; a defective powered pallet jack; unlabeled containers of chemicals; unapproved containers for flammable liquid; and lack of written procedures, training and other elements of the plant’s process safety management program. 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 number of citations reflects the wide array of hazards found during our inspection as well as the employer’s knowledge of the lockout hazard and the recurrence of conditions cited during an earlier OSHA inspection," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director in Braintree, Mass. "As demonstrated in this case, continued failure to adhere to safety and health standards exposes employees to serious injuries and potentially fatal fire, chemical, mechanical, fall, confined space and machine guarding hazards."

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.