Manufacturer Faces $106,800 Fine for Recurring Hazards

OSHA has proposed a total of $106,800 in fines against Service Manufacturing Group Inc., chiefly for uncorrected and recurring hazards at the company's Scajaquada Street sheet metal fabrication plant in Buffalo, N.Y.

OSHA cited the company for 12 violations of safety standards in March 2009. The company agreed to correct all hazards but failed to submit proof of abatement. OSHA then opened a follow up inspection in October 2009 and found that eight of the 12 violations had not been corrected.

As a result, OSHA has issued the company eight failure to abate notices, carrying $100,500 in fines. The uncorrected conditions encompass uninspected overhead cranes, lifting slings and fire extinguishers; failure to electrically interconnect containers while dispensing flammable liquids; missing gauges to ensure proper air velocity in paint spray booths; and failure to medically evaluate an employee's fitness to wear a respirator.

"Each of these conditions can have a serious impact on the health or safety of workers at the plant," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "The ongoing failure to rectify these hazards continually exposes workers to potential fire and crushing injuries. These conditions must be addressed promptly, completely and effectively."

The latest inspection also found that the plant failed to close unused openings in electrical boxes and cabinets, lacked an educational program on fire extinguisher use and limitations, and had not posted in the workplace the citations issued as a result of the earlier OSHA inspection. These conditions resulted in the issuance of, respectively, one repeat citation, with a $3,000 fine, one serious citation, with a $1,500 fine, and one other than serious citation, with a fine of $1,800.

"One means of preventing hazards is for employers to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program that involves their employees in proactively evaluating, identifying, and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Service Manufacturing Group has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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