ALBANY, N.Y. -- S.A. Baxter LLC, an architectural hardware manufacturer, faces a total of $117,920 in additional fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to correct hazards previously cited at the Chester manufacturing plant. The follow-up inspection began in April by OSHA's Albany Area Office.
The company did not implement a specific respiratory protection program for plant workers at its work site. It failed to provide a medical evaluation to determine worker fitness to wear a respirator, fit-test respirators before use by a worker, train workers in fire extinguisher use, mark an exit door and have an exposed opening in an electrical cabinet. Six failure-to-abate notices were issued, carrying $101,200 in proposed fines. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice found upon reinspection that the employer was originally cited for and has not corrected.
'Despite having sufficient time to correct all hazards cited during the previous inspection, this employer failed to do so. Moreover, other hazards were allowed to recur, and new hazards were identified,' said Kim Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. 'The sizable fines proposed reflect both the severity of these hazards as well as this employer's failure to take necessary corrective action.'
Three repeat citations, with $13,200 in fines, involve improper storage of respirators, lack of a hazard communication program and no hazard communication training for working with or near hazardous chemicals. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Two serious citations, with $3,520 in fines, were issued for lack of respirator training and an unlighted exit sign. 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.
'A responsible employer will not only correct hazards, but take action to prevent them from occurring in the first place,' said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. 'A responsible employer will institute and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program, working with employees to proactively identify and eliminate hazards that can injure or sicken workers.'
S.A. Baxter LLC has elected to contests its citations, failure to abate notices and proposed penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SA_Baxter_Cases.pdf*.
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 Albany Area Office at 518-464-4338.
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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.