OSHA cited Sharp Corp., Conshohocken, Pa., and proposed $225,000 in penalties for not informing employees about the chemicals they were handling or the hazards associated with those chemicals.
The company is a packaging contractor employing 430 workers at its Conshohocken facility.
OSHA initiated an investigation on Feb. 17, 2000 in response to an employee complaint alleging workers were not informed of the hazards of 17 Beta Estradiol Benzoate and Norgestimate -- two sex hormones approved by the Federal Drug Administration in October 1999.
Exposure to these hormones above the set Occupational Exposure Limit can cause adverse health effects to employees, including damage to the reproductive system.
According to George Thomchick, area director of the Allentown OSHA office, the company was cited for two serious violations, with a total penalty of $10,000 and four willful violations, with a total penalty of $215,000.
The company was cited for failing to provide eye or face protection to guard against chemicals which target the eyes and may be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes.
It was also cited for failing to provide appropriate respirators for employees exposed to chemicals 35 to 150 times the industry-established exposure limits.
"By not adhering to industry guidelines, the company took unnecessary chances with the health and safety of the workers exposed to these hormones," said Thomchick.
by Virginia Sutcliffe