N.Y. Metal Fabricator Faces More OSHA Fines for Safety Violations

December 28, 2005

Bronx-based A & L Sheet Metal Fabrications Corp. has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for four instances of reportedly failing to correct hazards cited during a 2004 OSHA inspection, as well as five new alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace health standards. The manufacturer of steel and aluminum products faces a total of $115,050 in new fines.

The company was first cited by OSHA in February and fined $7,000 for a variety of hazards. When the company reportedly failed to submit proof it had abated the cited hazards, OSHA began a follow-up inspection June 21 to verify that they had been corrected.

The new inspection found several uncorrected or inadequately corrected hazards. These included lack of audiometric testing for employees exposed to excess noise levels; lack of suitable emergency eyewash for employees working with corrosive chemicals; lack of a Class D fire extinguisher; and failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program, train employees, label containers and have material safety data sheets. These conditions resulted in four “failure to abate notices” carrying $101,250 in proposed fines.

“Employers cannot ignore OSHA citations,” said Diana Cortez, OSHA’s Tarrytown area director. “Failure to correct these hazards left workers exposed to hearing loss, eye damage, burns and hazardous chemicals.”

OSHA’s latest inspection also resulted in four repeat citations, with $11,400 in proposed fines, for unguarded moving machine parts; excess air pressure in a compressed air cleaning hose; improper storage of oxygen and acetylene cylinders; and allowing metal and/or chromium dust to accumulate on work surfaces, a refrigerator and a microwave oven. Finally, fines totaling $2,400 were proposed for two serious citations involving lack of noise training and unguarded fan blades.

OSHA issues a failure to abate citation when an employer has agreed to correct a previously cited hazard, then fails to do so. A repeat citation is issued when OSHA finds a hazard similar to one found on a prior inspection and the earlier citation has become final. 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.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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