NY Firm Disputes 'Failure to Abate' Notices, Fines

OSHA has proposed an additional $109,100 in fines against Samscreen Inc., a Conklin, N.Y.-based manufacturer of industrial screening media, for recurring safety hazards and failing to correct previously cited hazards at its Broome County plant.

OSHA opened a follow-up inspection of the plant in February to verify correction of hazards cited during an inspection in 2007. This latest inspection found that the plant failed to provide employees with required lockout/tagout training to prevent accidental start-ups of machinery and fire extinguisher training as agreed to in the company's previous settlement agreement with OSHA. As a result, the agency has issued the company two failure to abate notices with $72,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a failure to abate citation when an employer does not correct a cited violation by an established date. The plant received similar failure to abate notices and a proposed fine of $75,000 in April for failing to guard press brakes and rollers.

"These sizable fines reflect the breadth, severity, and recurring nature of these hazards, which expose employees to crushing, laceration, amputation, and burns," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse, N.Y. "They also reinforce the need for this employer to take complete and effective corrective measures and, just as important, maintain them so these hazards are eliminated once and for all."

The latest inspection also resulted in the issuance of one willful citation, with a $27,500 fine, for lack of a press brake to prevent employees from coming in contact with its point of operation. In addition, three repeat citations, with $9,000 in fines, were issued for uninspected punch presses, unguarded drive belts and pulleys, and exposed electrical conductors, hazards similar to those cited by OSHA in June 2007. Finally, one other-than-serious citation, with a $600 fine, was issued for an incomplete and unposted illness and injury summary.

Samscreen has elected to contest its citations and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.

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