Conn. Employer Faces OSHA Fines

August 2, 2004

A Bridgeport, Conn., company that engages in the nationwide distribution of heavy steel beams has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly exposing employees to multiple workplace hazards.

Bushwick Metals Inc., of 560 North Washington Ave., is facing a total of $81,600 in fines for 36 alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA’s combined safety and health inspections of the company’s facilities took place between Jan. 29 and April 7, 2004, and reportedly revealed that employees were being exposed to hazards ranging from slips, trips and falls to unguarded and hazardous equipment and machinery to fires and electrical shocks.

OSHA cited Bushwick Metals Inc. for 35 alleged serious violations of safety standards for exposing employees to hazards including: falls from access ways to overhead bridge cranes; numerous tripping hazards; slipping hazards; unguarded floor holes, open sided floors and stairways; exposed and improperly stored flammable materials; no procedures for dealing with potential releases of hazardous energy; defective and unsafe use of powered industrial trucks; defective cranes; electrical hazards; defective and unguarded equipment and machinery; among others. These alleged violations carry penalties totaling $80,400.

The company was also cited for one alleged serious violation of OSHA’s health standards, with a $1,200 proposed penalty, for failing to maintain a list of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace and to have on hand material safety data sheets for those chemicals. Finally, the company was cited for four “other than serious” violations, which carry no proposed penalties. (A “serious” violation is cited for hazards that pose a substantial probability to cause serious physical harm or death to exposed employees.)

Bushwick Metals has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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