The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) has cited Crystal Inc.-PMC for alleged safety and health violations, proposing $213,700 in penalties. The Lansdale, Pa., company manufactures specialty chemicals and employs 51 people.

OSHA initiated its investigation in January 2006 in response to an employee complaint. According to Jean Kulp, area director of the OSHA Allentown, Pa., office, the company was cited for seven repeat violations, which carry a penalty of $112,700; 34 serious violations, which carry a penalty of $98,000; and three other-than-serious violations, which carry a penalty of $3,000.

"Crystal Inc.'s refusal to correct previously identified violations jeopardizes its ability to maintain a safe and healthy work environment," says Kulp. "It is imperative that the company abate the hazards to protect workers at the plant."

The repeat violations address hazards associated with the following: poor housekeeping; walking and working surfaces; inadequate fall protection; deficiencies in confined-space procedures; and blocked eyewash stations and electrical deficiencies. The serious violations include hazards associated with the following: combustible organic dust; storage of incompatible chemicals; respiratory protection; powered industrial trucks; hazard communication deficiencies; handling of formaldehyde; lockout/tagout (prevents the inadvertent start-up of machinery); material storage; and welding equipment and live electrical parts. The other-than-serious violations are due to record-keeping deficiencies, overexposure to particulates and various electrical deficiencies.

A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar violations. A serious violation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.