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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed an additional $39,200 in fines against a North Attleboro, Mass., stone fabricator for allegedly failing to correct health and safety hazards cited in a previous OSHA inspection.
OSHA first cited Mountain Marble and Granite in February of this year for six serious violations of health and safety standards, and fined the company $5,200. OSHA's inspection was prompted by an October 2006 accident at the
The company paid the original fine but did not provide OSHA with proof that the hazards had been corrected. This situation led to follow-up inspections in June during which OSHA found several hazards still outstanding. As a result, OSHA has now cited Mountain Marble and Granite for five instances of failing to abate previously cited hazards and proposed the additional fines.
The outstanding hazards encompass lack of respiratory protection and hazard communication programs for employees exposed to silica and other hazardous substances while grinding, cutting and polishing stone slabs; untrained forklift operators; a forklift that was improperly modified to lift stone slabs; and unguarded cutting wheels on a stone grinder.
"The ongoing failure to fix these hazards leaves employees continually exposed to potential lung disease, crushing hazards, lacerations and amputations," said Robert Hooper, OSHA's acting area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "It should not take escalating fines and the potential for additional injuries and illnesses to prompt this employer to provide and maintain essential and legally required safeguards for its employees."
Mountain Marble and Granite has 15 business days to respond by requesting and participating in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contesting the failure to abate notices and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.