N.H. Plant Faces OSHA Fines

A cross-section of alleged safety hazards at a Silver Lake, N.H., manufacturing plant have resulted in a total of $62,500 in proposed fines from OSHA.

Chick Packaging of New England Inc., which manufactures custom wood packaging products, was cited for 20 alleged repeat and serious safety violations following an OSHA inspection that the agency launched in December. The inspection was conducted as part of an OSHA program that targets workplaces with high instances of lost workdays, restricted duty or job transfers due to occupational injuries or illnesses.

OSHA found that the plant allegedly had not developed and trained employees in specific procedures to shut down and lock out the power sources of machinery to prevent their accidental startup during maintenance. For this, OSHA issued two repeat citations, carrying $25,000 in proposed fines, since the company had been cited for similar hazards at its Itasca, Ill., facility in May 2004.

OSHA proposed a total of $37,500 in fines for 18 serious citations. The fines encompassed these alleged violations:

  • Unguarded machinery.
  • Exposed live electrical parts.
  • Uninsulated steam pipes.
  • Lack of employee training for safe electrical work practices.
  • Lack of training in fighting incipient stage fires.
  • Defective forklifts.
  • Failure to evaluate forklift operators' ability to operate the machines.
  • Lack of personal protective equipment.
  • Allowing flammable wood dust to accumulate around machinery.
  • Dust collection system lacking adequate protections against ignition of its flammable contents.

“OSHA's inspection identified a variety of safety hazards associated with manufacturing, all of which must be effectively addressed to prevent potential injuries,” said Rosemarie Ohar, the agency's area director in New Hampshire. “Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to the possibility of explosion, lacerations, amputations, burns, electrocution, 'struck-by' injuries or death.”

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