Safety Hazards at Syracuse China Plant Lead to $119,000 in Fines

Forget about the cost of damages from a bull rampaging through a china shop. An inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could cost a Syracuse, N.Y., china manufacturer a whole lot of money.

The agency claims a multitude of safety hazards, including exposing employees to unguarded machinery, electrical and fire hazards and hazardous substances, have resulted in $119,000 in proposed fines against Syracuse China Co. OSHA cited the chinaware manufacturer, a subsidiary of Libbey Glass Inc., for alleged serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The company has until July 2 to contest the citations.

According to Diane M. Brayden, OSHA's area director for Syracuse, the action results from an inspection of the plant conducted Dec. 13, 2001 through April 10, 2002 under OSHA's site-specific targeting program. Under this program, Brayden noted, general industry worksites are selected for inspection based on high rates of lost workday injuries.

As the result of the inspection, Syracuse China Co. was cited for alleged serious violations of OSHA's safety standards, which include a proposed penalty of $94,000. The violations include failure to:

  • Adequately maintain safety latches, lifting hooks and limit switches on hoists, or to inspect below the hook lifting devices or mark load capacities on monorails;
  • Maintain floors in dry condition and maintain aisles clear of obstruction;
  • Guard floor openings and floor holes, and open-sided floors;
  • Maintain unobstructed access to building exits, and adequately mark the exits;
  • Institute adequate precautions against the ignition of flammable vapors;
  • Conduct annual inspection of energy control procedures;
  • Adequately install point-of-operation guarding, or to guard horizontal and vertical shafts, keyways, belts and pulleys, sprocket wheels and chains;
  • Prohibit the use of compressed air for cleaning at pressures greater than 30 psi;
  • Close cylinder valves when not in use, and use valve protection cap;
  • Label circuit breaker panels, or provide protection from exposed live electrical parts;
  • Electrically ground equipment, and wire with correct polarity;
  • Provide face shields, goggles and eyewash/safety showers where corrosive chemicals are used;
  • Ensure the use of, or adequately train employees regarding the use of mechanical retrieval lines;
  • Provide rescue services with information about the site's confined spaces;
  • Adequately assess and control employee exposure to respirable silica dust and lead, or to properly label containers of cadmium-containing powders;
  • Label containers of hazardous chemicals;
  • Provide protection from contaminated hypodermic needles in the nurse's office;
  • Conduct initial exposure monitoring or training of personnel exposed to methylene chloride.

The company also was cited for a repeat violation relating to general machine guarding infractions. The proposed penalty for this violation is $25,000. Syracuse China was also cited for alleged other-than-serious violations including failure to provide stair railings, blocking access to circuit breaker panels and disconnect switches and using extension cords as permanent wiring. The other-than-serious violations did not include a proposed monetary penalty, but must be corrected.

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