Electrical Hazards at Conn. Plant Spark OSHA Fine

"Our inspections found numerous electrical, chemical, mechanical, fire, and exit hazards at this plant," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director in Hartford, Conn.

OSHA has cited Loos & Co. Inc. for 29 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The Pomfret, Conn., cable manufacturer faces a total of $177,000 in proposed fines following safety and health inspections conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office.

"Our inspections found numerous electrical, chemical, mechanical, fire, and exit hazards at this plant," said Paul Mangiafico, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, crushing injuries, being caught in moving or unexpectedly energized machinery, hearing loss, and being unable to exit the building swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency. For the safety and health of its workers, this employer needs to effectively correct these hazards and take positive steps to ensure that they do not occur again."

The cited hazards include untrained employees working on live electrical equipment without adequate personal protective equipment; ungrounded lamps and electrical receptacles; damaged and misused electrical equipment and cords; not using hazardous energy control procedures during maintenance of machinery; unguarded moving machine parts; uninspected lifting slings; excessive buildup of combustible dust in two locations; spray painting with flammable paint within 20 feet of spark-producing equipment; excessive noise levels and the lack of controls to reduce noise levels; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; inadequate eyewash facilities for employees working with chemicals; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; failure to conduct initial monitoring for hexavalent chromium; and exit routes arranged so employees would have to travel toward high-hazard areas when exiting the plant in an emergency. These conditions resulted in citations for 28 serious violations with $149,500 in proposed fines.

Loos & Co. Inc. also was cited for one repeat violation, with a $27,500 fine, for inadequate machine safeguarding. A similar hazard was cited by OSHA following a 2008 inspection of the plant.

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