OSHA Proposes $88K In Fines For Health Violations

                               Akron, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Heritage Industrial Finishing for 26 safety and health violations. OSHA initiated inspections at the company's two Akron facilities, which specialize in commercial/industrial and powdered coating applications, after receiving complaints about workplace hazards. Proposed penalties total $88,200.

"Employers such as Heritage Industrial Finishing are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their facilities, and implementing training and safety procedures, as well as mandating the proper use of personal protective equipment," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Eight serious safety violations at the company's Englewood Avenue facility include failing to develop and train workers in machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures, lock out equipment to control hazardous energy prior to conducting servicing and maintenance, train workers to use portable fire extinguishers, affix and maintain labels on equipment controls, and maintain covers on electrical installations.

Four serious health violations include allowing combustible residue to accumulate on the sprinklers, floors and walls of the spray booth; failing to require the use of eye protection and to document a personal protective equipment assessment; failing to develop a written respiratory protection program that includes fit testing, annual training and medical evaluation; failing to develop a written hazard communication program; and not training workers on the hazards of chemicals used in the workplace.

Thirteen serious health violations at the company's Kelly Avenue facility include failing to provide deflagration control devices on the powder coat booth, ensure that aisles were kept clear of obstruction where powered industrial trucks were used, implement engineering controls to control exposure to noise above the permissible limit, implement a hearing conservation program, keep areas clear of combustible powder accumulations, maintain exposure to total dust below the permissible limit and install engineering controls to reduce exposures to total dust. The violations also include electrical hazards such as failing to ensure electrical cords were grounded and to close unused knockouts in breaker boxes. Additionally, one other-than-serious health violation is failing to post OSHA's noise standard in the workplace.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its most recent citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cleveland Area Office at 216-615-4266.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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