OSHA cited American Brush Co., Claremont, N.H., for several serious violations and proposed penalties totaling $301,050 for those violations.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the citations are the result of both safety and health inspections at the company''s plant in Claremont, N.H.
The inspections took place between April 13 and Sept. 29. May explained that the plant, which manufactures paint brushes, was selected for inspection because of its extremely high injury and illness rate under OSHA''s Site Specific Targeting Inspection Plan.
"What our compliance officers found," said May, "revealed the reasons for those high rates. We found employees being exposed to all sorts of hazardous, unguarded machinery. We found employees being required to perform maintenance work on machines which were not properly locked and tagged to prevent their accident start up. Both the numerous instances of unguarded machinery and the lack of lockout/tagout program have contributed to employees experiencing lost time injuries."
May stressed that the company is being cited for several Willful violations.
"The employer is well aware of the safety standards applicable to its operation," said May.
Additionally, he noted that the plant has been inspected several times in the past and the employer has been cited previously for a number of similar violations.
"Consequently, as the employer has apparently decided to ignore those requirements, we are alleging that American Brush Co. is willfully exposing its employees to numerous hazards we found there."
Specifically, as a result of the inspection, some of the reasons the company is being cited are:
- failure to develop and cause to be utilized procedures for the control of hazardous energy for the protection of employees performing set-up, servicing or maintenance on a variety of machines;
- failure to provide machine guarding to protect operators and other employees from hazards created by in-going nip points, rotating parts, reciprocating parts, and reciprocating saws on a variety of different machines;
- failure to guard pulleys with parts 7 feet or less from the floor or work platform;
- failure to guard gears on various machines; and
- failure to enclose sprocket wheels and chains which were 7 feet or less above floors or platforms.
May noted that American Brush Co. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linzer Products Corp. of Wyandanch, N.Y., which acquired the company from Stanley Tool in 1996.
"It''s unfortunate to note that the employee injury and illness rates at American Brush have increased sustainability since the company was acquired by Linzer Products Corp., said May. "We can only hope that this fact does not reflect concern by the parent company toward employee safety and health."
by Virginia Sutcliffe