A Thomaston, Conn., precast concrete products plant faces $105,500 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for unguarded saw blades and a variety of chemical, fire and electrical hazards.


Coreslab Structures Inc. was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following an OSHA inspection begun September 28, 2006, in response to a complaint about possible unsafe conditions at the Waterbury Road plant.

OSHA's inspection found that circular saws used to cut wood and plastic stock routinely lacked required guards. These guards are meant to keep any part of an employee's body from coming into contact with a saw's operating blades and prevent stock from kicking back during cutting. The absence of guarding exposes employees to the hazards of lacerations, amputation or being struck by kicked-back materials.

As a result, Coreslab was issued one willful citation, carrying the maximum proposed fine of $70,000, for the lack of guarding. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

"Machine guarding is a vital, common and commonsense safeguard that must not be disregarded by employers," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "The sizable fine proposed in this case reflects the fact that this employer clearly knew these saws should have been guarded, yet refused to do so."

The company also was issued eight serious citations, with $35,500 in proposed fines, for improper storage of flammable chemicals, blocked access to fire extinguishers, improper saw operation, electrical hazards, unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals and inadequate machine guarding. 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.

Coreslab has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.