Follow-Up OSHA Inspection Leads to Nearly $40,000 Added Fines for Stone Co.

OSHA has proposed an additional $39,200 in fines against Mountain Marble and Granite, a North Attleboro, Mass.-based stone fabricator, for failing to correct health and safety hazards cited in a previous inspection. OSHA first cited the company in February of this year for six serious violations, fining MMG $5,200. That inspection was prompted by an October 2006 accident at the facility in which an employee's finger was crushed between two pieces of granite.

MMG paid the original fine but did not provide OSHA with proof that the hazards had been corrected, which led to follow-up inspections in June during which the agency found several hazards still outstanding. As a result OSHA has now cited the company for five instances of failing to abate previously cited hazards and proposed the additional fines. The outstanding hazards include lack of respiratory protection and hazard communication programs for employees exposed to silica and other hazardous substances while grinding, cutting, and polishing stone slabs; untrained forklift operators; a forklift that was improperly modified to lift stone slabs; and unguarded cutting wheels on a stone grinder.

"The ongoing failure to fix these hazards leaves employees continually exposed to potential lung disease, crushing hazards, lacerations, and amputations," said Robert Hooper, OSHA's acting director for southeastern Massachusetts. "It should not take escalating fines and the potential for additional injuries and illnesses to prompt this employer to provide and maintain essential and legally required safeguards for its employees."

The company has 15 business days to respond by requesting and participating in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contesting the failure to abate notices and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office, telephone 617-565-6924.

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