Methylene Chloride Exposure Leads to Firm's $49,000 Penalty

"Methylene chloride exposure can have very serious health effects, such as cancer and cardiac distress," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's area office in Marlton, N.J.

OSHA has cited Integrated Laminate Systems for 14 workplace safety and health violations, including exposing employees to methylene chloride, at the company's Cinnaminson, N.J., facility. Proposed penalties total $49,000.

OSHA initiated an inspection on Feb. 8 as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on industries with high injury and illness rates. As a result, the company received 13 serious citations with the penalties, and one other-than-serious citation, which carried no penalty.

"Methylene chloride exposure can have very serious health effects, such as cancer and cardiac distress," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's area office in Marlton, N.J. "It is vital that the company takes immediate action to ensure that employees have a safe and healthful work environment."

The serious violations include employees exposed to airborne concentrations of methylene chloride from 1.02 to 1.28 times the permissible exposure level of 25 parts per million; employees exposed to a crushing hazard while traveling in a work platform attached to an powered industrial truck; Class I flammables dispensed into containers that were not electrically interconnected to the nozzle; use of flexible cords and cables as a substitute for fixed wiring; and employee use of compressed air set at 120 pounds per square inch to clean off work surfaces and their bodies.

Additionally, the company failed to identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard in the workplace and conduct air monitoring for employees exposed to methylene chloride; provide appropriate respiratory protection; require employees to use appropriate hand protection when working with chemicals; provide body and face protection; develop, document and utilize procedures for lockout/tagout of energy sources; singularly identify lockout devices; provide an eyewash station and shower; implement engineering controls; establish a respiratory protection program; establish a regulated area for employees working with methylene chloride; provide medical surveillance to employees working with methylene chloride; and provide training to employees regarding hazards of methylene chloride.

The other-than-serious violation was due to the company's failure to provide employees with fire extinguisher training.

Integrated Laminate Systems manufactures storage cabinets for dental offices and has 42 employees at this site.

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