Stone Products Firm Charged with Failing to Abate Hazcom Hazards

OSHA has cited Designer's Stone Co. of Watertown, Mass., for alleged repeat and serious safety and health violations and failing to correct hazards cited during a previous agency inspection. A total of $40,600 in fines is proposed.

These latest citations and fines result from an OSHA inspection opened Feb. 13 to verify correction of hazards the agency cited in August 2007. The follow-up inspection found that four of 17 cited conditions remained uncorrected. These included inadequate or incomplete hazard communication training for employees working with chemicals, flammables and silica produced during stone grinding; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; ungrounded fans; and unmarked circuit breakers. These conditions resulted in the issuance of four failure-to-abate notices carrying $21,000 in fines.

Eight repeat citations, with $14,800 in fines, were issued for hazards similar to those cited in 2007. These citations encompass lack of eye protection; no annual fit-testing for respirators; unguarded rotating saw blades; unguarded grinders; electric tools used without ground fault circuit interrupters; exposed live electrical parts; extension cords used in place of fixed wiring; and failure to provide prompt access to employees of their records of exposure to silica.

Finally, six serious citations, with $4,800 in fines, were issued for lack of respirator training; water containers covered with silica dust; unmounted, discharged and/or uninspected fire extinguishers; unguarded saw blades; damaged power cords; and other electrical hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has elected to contest its citations and fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Area Office in Methuen, Mass., telephone 617-565-8110.

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