Occupational Health & Safety

Worker's Burning at Metal Finishing Plant Leads to $51,680 Fine

On Sept. 20, flammable vapors ignited in a storage room holding more than 800 gallons of flammable liquids, and a plant employee who tried to extinguish the fire sustained burns that were not life-threatening.

OSHA has cited Anthony River Inc. for nine serious and three repeat violations of workplace safety standards after an employee was burned at the metal finisher's Syracuse, N.Y., plant. Proposed penalties total $51,680.

"While it is fortunate that no life was lost here, this is a graphic example of the harm that workers and businesses can suffer when basic, common-sense, and legally required safeguards are neglected," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse.

On Sept. 20, flammable vapors ignited in a storage room holding more than 800 gallons of flammable liquids, and a plant employee who tried to extinguish the fire sustained burns that were not life-threatening. OSHA's inspection identified several safety deficiencies involving the storage and dispensing of flammable liquids, including a lack of ventilation in the storage room. Additionally, the room was not constructed to meet the National Fire Protection Association's required fire-resistance rating, numerous containers of flammable liquids were open and uncovered, flammable liquids were dispensed without the nozzle and container being electrically bonded, and a lighter was allowed to be ignited in the storage room.

Other serious hazards include a lack of fire extinguisher training, blocked fire extinguisher access, ungrounded electrical equipment, unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals, and uninspected and unrated overhead hoists and lifting devices. The serious violations carry a total of $33,000 in fines.

The repeat violations, carrying $18,680 in fines, involve hazards similar to those cited against the company by OSHA in 2010 and 2011, including the lack of an operating sprinkler system for a paint spray booth where flammable paint was used, the accumulation of combustible residue on paint spray booths, and the use of an extension cord in place of fixed wiring.

"Hazards can be eliminated by an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's New York regional administrator.

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