For exposing workers to excessive noise and inadequate respiratory protection, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Arrow Concrete Company for alleged willful and serious violations at seven locations in West Virginia. Penalties totaling $476,000 have been proposed.
According to Stanley H. Elliott, area director of the Charleston OSHA office, the company willfully failed to provide audiometric testing to employees exposed to excessive noise; provide medical evaluation, fit testing and training to employees required to use respirators; and ensure that employees using respirators are clean shaven.
"Injury and illness rates are declining and to keep this downward trend going, employers must make sure that they provide a safe and healthy workplace," said Elliott.
The serious citations cover a wide variety of violations including failure to keep floor openings covered, unsuitable eyewash facilities for employees using corrosive and acidic products, and lack of lockout/tagout training to ensure that machinery is inoperable during maintenance and repair.
The inspections, conducted by the Charleston OSHA area office, were the result of a "local emphasis program" undertaken by that office to protect workers from the hazards of silica in concrete manufacturing and ready mix operations.
OSHA issues a willful citation when there is evidence of intentional violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to its requirements. Serious citations are issued for hazards where the employer knew or should have known that serious injury or death could occur.