Slew of Safety Hazards Add Up to Ala. Firm's $50,645 Fine

Eleven serious health violations, with $43,400 in fines, involve workers' exposure to hexavalent chromium and silica, both of which can cause irreversible health problems.

OSHA has cited S & K Machineworks Co. Inc. with 17 safety and health violations after conducting two inspections at the company's production facility in Theodore, Ala. A planned safety inspection began in December 2011 as part of OSHA's emphasis programs to prevent amputations and injuries related to powered industrial trucks. The identification of exposure to hexavalent chromium and silica triggered a separate health inspection. Proposed penalties total $50,645.

Eleven serious health violations, with $43,400 in fines, involve workers' exposure to hexavalent chromium and silica, both of which can cause irreversible health problems. The company also lacked both an effective hearing conservation and respiratory programs. Three serious safety violations, with $6,545 in fines, include the presence of floor openings that risked fall hazards; a lack of machine safety guards on an abrasive wheel; and unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings that exposed workers to electrical hazards.

One other-than-serious safety violation, with a $700 penalty, has been cited for not maintaining a complete and adequate log of injuries and illnesses at the workplace. Two other-than-serious safety violations, with no monetary penalties, include the use of an improper electrical conductor and of a pressure vessel in the sand blasting yard missing the proper markings and pressure gauge.

"Companies must protect employees from both immediate and long-term hazards. Employers need to take proactive measures to prevent exposure to hazards rather than wait for an OSHA inspection," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile.

S & K Machineworks fabricates and services storage tanks and pressure vessels.

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