N.H. manufacturer faces $134,900 in OSHA penalties

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

Boston Felt Company Inc. of Rochester, N.H., has been cited for 66 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of health and safety standards by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The felt products manufacturer faces $134,900 in proposed fines stemming from OSHA inspections begun in February of this year.

"These citations address a wide cross section of health and safety concerns that are basic to a manufacturing environment," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director for New Hampshire. "Failing to correct these conditions exposes employees to the hazards of hearing loss, burns, lacerations, amputation, crushing, fire, explosion, asbestos, being struck by forklifts or being overcome by toxic or oxygen-deficient atmospheres."

The company was issued one willful citation, with a $56,000 fine, for not ensuring the use of hearing protection by employees exposed to high noise levels. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Forty-seven serious citations, carrying $74,700 in fines, were issued for incomplete or inadequate training, monitoring and testing for employees exposed to high noise levels; unguarded moving machine parts; electrical hazards; a sprinkler system not maintained in working order; damaged propane storage tanks located too close to the building; an incomplete emergency response plan; inadequate or incomplete safeguards for employees working in confined spaces; inadequate or incomplete safeguards to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance; untrained forklift operators; damaged forklifts not removed from service; lack of personal protective equipment; tripping and fall hazards; and inadequate or incomplete safeguards for employees working in areas where asbestos or potentially asbestos-containing materials were present. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company also was issued 17 other-than-serious citations and fined $4,200 for failing to accurately record occupational injuries and illnesses, inadequate recordkeeping, and other safety and health conditions. Other-than-serious citations address conditions that have a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Boston Felt 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 them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Concord Area Office.


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