Analytical Instruments Maker Fined for Electrical, Chemical, Respirator Hazards

OSHA has cited Fluid Management Systems Inc. for 29 alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious violations of safety and health standards at its production plant in Watertown, Mass. The manufacturer of analytical instruments faces a total of $125,000 in proposed penalties, mainly for electrical, chemical, and respirator hazards.

"Our inspection found employees working in close proximity to energized electrical circuits without proper training or personal protective equipment," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex (Mass.) counties. "OSHA standards require that circuits be de-energized before employees work on them and that appropriate personal protective equipment be supplied and used in those rare instances where de-energizing is not feasible."

Among the other electrical-related hazards found during the inspection were instances of unguarded or uncovered live electrical parts, equipment, and openings; failing to de-energize live electrical parts before working on them; not training employees in safe electrical work practices; and allowing unqualified employees to work on energized equipment.

Additional hazards included unmarked exit routes; improperly stored compressed gas cylinders; inadequate lockout/tagout safeguards; improper training and lack of eyewashes for employees working with methylene chloride; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and inadequate respiratory protection safeguards.

As a result, OSHA has issued the company two willful citations, which carry $70,000 in proposed fines, for the lack of PPE and for work in close proximity to energized electrical circuits. The agency issued 26 serious citations, which carry $53,500 in fines, for the remaining items. Additionally, the one other-than-serious citation, issued because the company allegedly did not record injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 log or its equivalent, carries a $1,500 fine.

Fluid Management has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Boston North Area Office in Andover, Mass.

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