Metal Finishing Plant Cited, Again, For Worker Exposure to Chromium VI

OSHA has cited Pride Plating Inc. with alleged willful, repeat, and serious violations following an inspection at the company's facility in Grove, Okla. The company employs about 90 workers who provide a wide range of metal finish processes. Proposed penalties total $209,000.

Following its investigation that began March 4 at the facility, OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office issued a willful citation for Pride's failure to perform periodic monitoring after initial monitoring indicated workers were exposed to chromium VI in excess of OSHA's permissible exposure limit. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

A citation for 10 repeat violations was issued for failure to provide safe walking surfaces; provide personal protective equipment for workers exposed to chromium; prevent workers from being overexposed to chromium VI; and properly train workers who have been exposed to chromium, caustics, and corrosives used in the facility. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order.

A serious citation noting three violations was issued for failure to provide adequate washing facilities for workers exposed to chromium VI, and failure to prohibit tobacco products in chromium-regulated areas. A serious violation means there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA also issued a notice of failure-to-abate citation to Pride relating to three violations: the company's failure to implement a respiratory program, institute a medical surveillance program for workers overexposed to chromium VI, and develop and implement a hazard communication program for workers exposed to caustics and corrosives. A failure-to-abate citation is issued when an employer has not corrected a violation for which OSHA previously issued a citation and the abatement date has passed.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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