ALBANY, N.Y. -- The U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rothe Welding Inc. of Saugerties for alleged failure to abate and repeat and serious workplace health violations, some of which refer to a previous 2012 OSHA inspection.
The metal fabricator faces a total of $52,280 in proposed fines following an inspection initiated in September 2012 by OSHA's Albany Area Office to verify the correction of hazards cited during a January 2012 inspection. The company was previously cited for seven violations of safety and health standards.
One of the uncorrected hazards involves failing to provide workers with information and training about the hazards of lead and other substances in the workplace. As a result, OSHA cited Rothe Welding for failing to abate the hazard and has proposed a fine of $36,000. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice found upon reinspection that the employer was originally cited for and was not corrected.
'Despite having sufficient time to correct all hazards cited during the previous inspection, this employer failed to do so. In addition, other hazards were allowed to recur and new hazards were identified,' said Kim Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. 'The proposed fines reflect both the severity of these hazards, which expose workers to potentially serious health conditions, as well as this employer's failure to take all effective corrective action.'
Additionally, two repeat violations with $10,560 in fines involve an inadequate respirator protection program, failing to medically evaluate workers to determine their ability to wear respirators, and failing to ensure that employees using tight-fitting respirators were fit tested. 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.
Finally, citations for three serious violations carrying $5,720 in fines involve failing to clean and disinfect respirators before usage; store respirators in safe locations to protect them from damage, dust, extreme temperatures or moisture; and to provide lead hazard information to potentially exposed workers. 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.
'One means of preventing hazards is through an effective illness and injury prevention program in which workers and managers work together to identify and eliminate hazards that can injure or sicken workers,' said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Rothe Welding has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 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.