OSHA Fines N.J. Company $130,000 for Methylene Chloride Violations


 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a New Jersey company $130,000 for methylene chloride violations. Exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride remains a severe health concern for workers. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused to extend the United States Environmental Protection [EPA] agency's regulations to cover methylene chloride in the commercial setting. 

Serious safety and health citations

The company, Sinclair & Rush Inc.. 640 Dell Road, Carlstadt, New Jersey 07072, was issued the citations on Jan. 19, 2022. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued ten serious and one other-than-serious safety and health citation.

Sinclair & Rush Inc. manufactures and sells product protection for plastic components, plastic packaging, and other products to North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia under the StockCap, VisiPak, and GripWorks brands. It has manufacturing locations in Missouri and New Jersey, as well as the United Kingdom, China, and Australia. 

The OSHA issued citations related to methylene chloride hazards, including allowing workers to be overexposed to the solvent and failing to provide personal protective equipment, eyewash stations, and medical surveillance for workers exposed or potentially exposed to the solvent. Sinclair & Rush also failed to implement engineering controls and work practices to reduce employee exposure. 

Health Dangers from Exposure

“Allowing employees to be exposed to methylene chloride improperly puts them at an increased risk of certain cancers, damage to the heart, liver, and central nervous system, and skin or eye irritation. Employers must ensure critical safety and health precautions are in place to protect workers using or potentially exposed to this highly hazardous solvent from injury or illness,” said OSHA Area Director Lisa Levy in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “OSHA recommends employers use alternative, less hazardous chemicals or methods to prevent worker exposure to methylene chloride.” 

Link (to citations/findings document): https://dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OPA/newsreleases/2022/02/osha2022172sinclair%232.pdf

Health Risks

Exposure to methylene chloride, a chemical used in paint products, can result in:

  • Death,
  • Neurological impact such as a coma, incapacitation, loss of consciousness and dizziness, and
  • Liver effects

Medical Conditions

Chronic exposure to methylene chloride can result in:

  • Brain cancer, 
  • Liver cancer, 
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and 
  • Multiple myeloma

 Workers' Compensation Benefits 

Workers' compensation benefits are available for those eligible workers who have been injured due to exposure to methylene chloride in an occupational setting. If you have been exposed, you should consult a lawyer familiar with workers' compensation benefits as soon as possible.

By Jon L. Gelman

Courtesy of Workers' Compensation

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