'Wall-to-Wall' Inspections of Mill Result in 70 Violations, $212,000 in Fines

OSHA has cited Ansonia Copper and Brass Inc. for 70 alleged serious, repeat, and other violations of workplace safety and health standards at the company's Waterbury, Conn., tube mill. The company faces a total of $212,000 in proposed fines following what the agency called "wall-to-wall" inspections of the plant begun in February.

"The sizable fines proposed here reflect the breadth of hazards found during our inspections and the fact that the company had been cited for similar conditions in the past," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport, Conn. "Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to hazards such as lacerations, amputation, crushing, falls, fire, electrocution, asphyxiation, burns and struck-by injuries. These hazards must be addressed promptly, effectively, and continuously."

Specifically, the mill has been issued 58 serious citations, accounting for $168,800 in fines, for deficient or damaged lifting hoists and slings; damaged, defective, or inadequate crane components and safeguards; obstructed exit routes; respirator deficiencies; emergency eyewashes not maintained; lack of hazard communication information and training; uncovered floor pits; no hazard assessment or training for personal protective equipment; failure to evaluate, test, provide training for, and restrict entry to confined spaces; untrained operators of powered industrial trucks; locations for fire extinguishers not identified; lack of fire extinguisher training; unsecured gas cylinders; missing guardrails and stair railings; electrical hazards; and numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts, saws, and abrasive grinders.

The company also has been issued five repeat citations, with $40,800 in fines, for oil- and water-covered floors in work areas; lack of proper lockout/tagout procedures and equipment to prevent accidental energization start-ups; unlabeled electrical devices; and failing to remove defective powered industrial trucks from service. OSHA cited the company for similar hazards in 2005 and 2006. Finally, seven other-than-serious hazards, with $2,400 in fines, have been issued for incomplete recording of workplace injuries and illnesses and other conditions. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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