Insulation Maker Fined $134,750 by OSHA

A Cohoes, N.Y., insulation manufacturer's alleged failure to safeguard workers against a wide range of safety and health hazards has resulted in $134,750 in proposed penalties from OSHA.

OSHA says it began its inspection of Shelter Enterprises Inc.'s plant on Aug. 23, 2004, after learning that three employees had been hurt in a scaffolding accident at the facility Aug. 21.

The inspection, according to the agency, found that employees had not received training in the use of forklift trucks and were exposed to possible injury from the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance. This was due to the lack of specific procedures for safely shutting down the machines and locking out their power sources before working on them and lack of training in these procedures, according to OSHA.

OSHA also alleges that its inspection found that Shelter Enterprises did not have a hazard communication program to inform and train employees about the chemicals with which they worked.

The company was cited for a total of 18 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of health and safety standards.

The company was issued three willful citations with a proposed penalty of $115,500 for the aforementioned alleged violations. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

OSHA also issued 12 serious citations to the company with a total proposed penalty of $19,250. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Alleged violations warranting serious citations included:

  • Using an improper platform on the forks of a forklift
  • Modifying a forklift without the manufacturer's approval
  • Allowing employees' arms and legs to extend outside the running lines of the forklift and unstable loads on the forklift
  • Fall hazards from incomplete standard railings and lack of a fall arrest system while loading flatbed trucks
  • An unsecured door at the freight elevator
  • Lack of bonding and grounding of flammable liquids
  • Lack of directional exit signs
  • Obstruction in the exit access
  • Lack of machine guarding.

Shelter Enterprises has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply or challenge them. The company refused to comment on the alleged violations.

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