MIOSHA Shuts Down Parts Coating Company for Continuing Violations

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth Director Keith Cooley directed Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officers to take one of the strongest actions in their arsenal Thursday: execute a Cease Operation Order against Pretco Technologies, a small business in Mt. Morris, Mich., for continuing to run its operations without required eyewash facilities, a Hazard Communication program, or personal protective equipment despite several inspections. Pretco employs 10 workers at the site and is a parts coating operation where workers use corrosives, solvents, and paints; it is classified as a high-hazard industry, according to MIOSHA, which said this was only the third time in its history that a Cease Operation Order has been served against an employer for failing to correct identified safety and health violations within the specified timeframe.

"MIOSHA standards require employers to protect workers from known workplace hazards. By not correcting previously identified hazards, Pretco Technologies has compromised the safety of its employees," said Cooley. "MIOSHA is committed to helping employers who want to do the right thing, but we will not tolerate Pretco Technologies' flagrant disregard of employee safety."

This Cease Operation Order stems from violations first identified to Pretco's management in 2005. After a complaint inspection, the company was cited on Aug. 24, 2005, for lack of eyewash facilities, no chemical HazCom program, no assessment performed for PPE, electrical safety violations, no formaldehyde exposure monitoring, improper storage of liquefied petroleum gases, and two lockout/tagout violations, MIOSHA said. After Pretco failed to submit abatement information to MIOSHA on the citations, a follow-up inspection was done July 19, 2006, and the officers found five of the original nine violations had not been abated -- including the three related to this Cease Operation Order.

A second follow-up inspection on May 29, 2007, found Pretco still had not abated the three violations, as did a third on April 28, 2008, despite failure-to-abate citations being issued each time. MIOSHA said its personnel contacted the company on nine separate occasions from 2005 to 2008 to discuss abatement methods and offer help. A return visit on Thursday found the violations had yet to be fixed, and during this return visit the Cease Operation Order was issued.

"We will not allow this continued exposure of employees to serious hazards.  Since the employer refuses to take corrective action, we must step in and protect these workers," Cooley said. "As soon as Pretco Technologies corrects the hazards and notifies our compliance officers, we will respond in less than 24 hours, verify abatement, and remove the Cease Operation tags."

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