Division of McWane Cited, Issued $181,400 in Proposed OSHA Fines

OSHA proposed fining an Elmira, N.Y., fire hydrant and valve manufacturer $181,400 for failing to address occupational safety and health hazards that could have killed or seriously injured employees, including hazards from falls, unlabeled chemicals, and negative health consequences from overexposure to silica.

OSHA cited Kennedy Valve, a Division of McWane Inc., for 24 alleged repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following a comprehensive inspection conducted between March and September. The inspection was part of a national settlement agreement between OSHA and McWane Industries Inc.

Ten repeat citations account for $137,900 of the fines. These citations address fall hazards, uncovered containers of flammable liquids, not maintaining forklift name plates, inadequate machine guarding, electrical hazards, employees wearing inadequate respiratory protection, unlabeled hazardous chemicals, employee overexposure to silica and lack of administrative or engineering controls to reduce silica exposure hazards. OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer has previously been cited for substantially similar hazards and those citations have become final. The current repeat citations stem from violations found at other McWane worksites during OSHA inspections conducted between 2000 and 2003.

Fines of $43,500 are proposed for 14 serious citations including failure to properly maintain overhead lift components; deficiencies involving containers of flammable liquids; paint spray booth hazards; additional machine guarding, electrical and fall hazards; not refitting employees for hearing protection after they sustained standard threshold shift hearing loss; incomplete personal protective equipment assessment; lack of annual confined space rescue drills; over-exposure to total dust and lack of administrative controls or engineering controls; and lack of initial determination for lead exposure and shoveling of sand containing lead.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

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

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