The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $45,500 in fines against Cranesville Block Company for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety and health standards at its Kingston, N.Y., plant.
The citations and fines follow OSHA safety and health inspections prompted by employee complaints, and concern chemical and electrical hazards and lack of personal protective equipment for workers. Specifically, OSHA found blocked exits, workers lacking safety glasses and gloves while working with acid, unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals, unmarked electrical equipment, exposed live electrical parts and moisture in electrical equipment.
"The serious and recurring nature of these hazards is disturbing," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Employees at this plant are exposed to the hazards of electrocution, burns, eye and hand injuries, and being unable to swiftly exit the workplace in the event of a fire or other emergency. This employer must address these hazards effectively and continually now and in the future."
OSHA has issued the company two repeat citations, with $27,500 in fines, for the lack of personal protective equipment and the unlabeled containers of chemicals, as it had cited the company in 2009 for similar hazards at Cranesville Block's Fishkill and Glens Falls, N.Y., locations.
The remaining hazardous conditions identified in Kingston resulted in the issuance of six serious citations, with $18,000 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One means of preventing recurring hazards is for employers to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program involving their workers in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Cranesville Block has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.