OSHA cited Leed Himmel Industries Inc., of Hamden, Conn., for 88 alleged serious, repeat and other violations of safety and health standards, and has proposed penalties totaling $127,620.
According to OSHA, safety and health inspections of Leed Himmel plants in Hamden were initiated on May 8, under OSHA''s Site Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on workplaces with exceptionally high injury and illness rates.
"Using 1998 data, the average lost workday injury and illness rate for all industries throughout the country was 3.1 per hundred workers," said Clifford Weston, OSHA area director in Bridgeport, Conn. "The rate for the Leed Himmel plants was 16.0 per hundred workers in that same period."
Weston stressed that, "what makes this high injury and illness rate most unfortunate is the fact that this company has a history of several OSHA inspections and citations dating from 1992. That means that this employer is well aware of all the safety and health standards which apply to its operations and yet continues to expose its employees to numerous hazards which, not surprisingly, result in occupational injuries and illnesses."
Consequently, Leed Himmel, which manufactures fabricated aluminum goods, is being cited for:
- exposing employees to hazards including: excessive noise levels, hazardous chemicals, atmospheres requiring the use of respirators, unsanitary working conditions, hazardous confined spaces, corrosive materials, excessive concentrations of cadmium and unlabeled chemical hazards;
- failing to establish and maintain audiometric testing program for all employees exposed to excessive noise levels;
- failure to require employee use of protective eyewear and face equipment in hazardous situations;
- failure to provide a medical evaluation to determine an employees ability to use a respirator;
- failing to train employees in first aid procedures;
- allowing employees to eat and drink in areas exposed to toxic materials;
- and failing to maintain copies of required material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical in the workplace.
The company was also cited for 30 alleged serious violations for various hazardous including no handrails on stairs, obstructed emergency passageways, improperly stored combustible waste material, ungrounded electrical equipment and improperly installed electrical receptacles in wet locations.
"There is simply no excuse for such conditions to exist in any workplace," said Weston, "much less one where the employers are so well aware of the precautions they should be taking to protect their employees."
by Virginia Sutcliffe