A Clyde, N.Y., electronic components manufacturer has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 29 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of safety standards. Thomas Electronics of New York Inc. faces a total of $151,100 in proposed fines following OSHA inspections begun in November 2007 in response to an employee complaint.
"The citations address a variety of hazards which, left uncorrected, expose employees to chemical burns, fire, electrocution, lacerations, amputation, falls and crushing injuries, and impede their ability to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "The sizable proposed fines reflect the breadth and seriousness of the cited conditions and emphasize the need for this employer to take prompt and effective corrective action."
Specifically, two willful citations, accounting for $100,000 in fines, have been issued for lack of eye and face protection for employees working with hydrofluoric acid and the lack of a hazard communication program to provide employees with the knowledge to identify and protect themselves against the hazardous chemicals with which they work.
OSHA has issued 24 serious citations, with $49,700 in fines, for unmarked exit doors and routes blocked by equipment and snow; improper storage of combustible materials; inadequate paint spray booth safeguards; lack of specific training and equipment to lock out machines' power sources to prevent their unintended startup; lack of personal protective equipment and training; adequate first aid supplies not readily available; unguarded moving machine parts; a variety of electrical and electrical-related hazards; excess air pressure for a cleaning hose; and no initial lead exposure determination.
The agency also has issued three other-than-serious citations, with $1,400 in fines, for not maintaining a log of injuries and illnesses for 2006 and 2007; failure to provide respirator information; and not conducting regular and periodic inspections of mechanical power presses.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.