N.Y. Concrete Manufacturer Fined for Safety Hazards

November 2, 2004

A wide range of safety and health hazards at an Amsterdam, N.Y., concrete products manufacturer has resulted in $147,500 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Cranesville Block, located at 774 State Highway 5S, has been cited for a total of 18 alleged willful, repeat, serious and other violations of health and safety standards.

OSHA began its inspection on April 22 under a program that targets inspections to workplaces with a higher than average number of workdays lost due to injuries and illnesses. The inspection reportedly found that workers were exposed to possible injury from the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance. This was due to the lack of specific procedures for safely shutting down the machines and locking out their power sources before working on them.

As a result, the company was issued a willful citation with a proposed penalty of $70,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Two repeat citations, carrying $47,500 in fines, were issued for unmarked exits and fall hazards from unguarded open-sided work platforms. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and that citation has become final. In this case, Cranesville Block had been cited by OSHA for substantially similar hazards in 2000 and 2001.

Hazards involving inadequate machine guarding, improper storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders, improper electrical wiring, confined space hazards, not providing audiograms, lack of fixed stairs, poor housekeeping and failure to lock out all energy sources resulted in 12 serious citations, with $29,000 in fines.

A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An additional $1,000 fine was proposed for three other citations for failing to record injuries and illnesses, and for electrical hazards.

Cranesville Block has elected to contest its citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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