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March 06, 2023
El Paso employer facing $292K OSHA fine for corrosives exposures

An El Paso, Texas, jewelry metal-plating finisher faces Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines totaling $292,693 for failing to protect employees working with dangerous acids and other chemicals from potentially permanent eye injuries, the agency announced February 28. The agency cited Arizona Traders Co., doing business as Siltec, Inc., with 12 serious workplace safety violations.

The employer did not provide required eyewash stations or showers in areas where employees faced the risks associated with hydrochloric and nitric acids and ferric chloride, according to OSHA. Agency inspectors also found obstructed exits and electrical hazards and improperly stored acetylene and oxygen cylinders. Arizona Traders failed to establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with site-specific procedures and did not assess the presence of, or the possibility of, other workplace hazards to determine if personal protective equipment was required. The agency also found that the company failed to implement a written hazard communication program.

Arizona Traders has a history of OSHA citations. The agency issued serious citations in September 2011 and repeat citations in August 2012 for failing to provide employees with a suitable facility for quick drenching of the eyes and body. In September 2012, the company received serious citations for failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment and for a lack of required hazard communications.

“Arizona Traders Co. continues to ignore its responsibility to protect employees working with dangerous chemicals from potentially serious injuries, including permanent eye damage and possibly sight loss,” Diego Alvarado, OSHA’s El Paso area director, said in an agency statement. “This company must change the way it operates and make workplace safety a priority before a tragedy occurs.”

Pepsi Guam cited for amputation hazards

OSHA announced on February 28 that Pepsi Guam Bottling jeopardized the safety of its employees by disabling safety devices to allow workers to reach into a bottle-labeling machine as often as 15 times an hour to grab and fix labels and adjust tipping bottles to avoid slowing or stopping production.

The agency cited Pepsi Guam with one willful violation, one repeat violation, and six serious violations of machine safety procedures, as well as failures to comply with electrical safe work practices and respiratory protection standards. OSHA proposed penalties of $180,807.

Agency inspectors found that Pepsi Guam Bottling failed to:  

  • Protect employees from rotating parts, in-going nip points, and burn hazards during the operation of the bottle-labeling machine at production speed.
  • Develop specific procedures for the placement of lockout/tagout devices to prevent machines from operating during service and maintenance.
  • Place a chuck guard on a drill press to protect workers from rotating parts.
  • Enclose sprocket wheels and chains on a packer machine.
  • Protect employees from respiratory hazards by fit testing those required to wear a respirator.
  • Remove a damaged racking system on which pallets of bottled water were stored, which exposed workers to struck-by and crushed-by hazards.
  • Protect workers from electrical hazards from unused openings in live electrical boxes and missing covers on junction boxes.

OSHA initiated an inspection under Region IX’s  amputations and warehousing operations regional emphasis programs.

New Hampshire roofer facing $234K fine for fall hazards

Ridge Runner Construction LLC, a Derry, New Hampshire, roofer, faces $234,741 in proposed OSHA penalties for fall and other hazards at jobsites in Merrimack and Salem, New Hampshire, the agency announced February 27.

OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard year after year.

Agency officials found that Ridge Runner Construction exposed employees to falls of up to 20 feet (ft) as they installed shingles or performed roofing work and worked on ladders that did not extend at least 3 ft above the roofs’ edges for required stability. The employer also failed to provide effective fall protection training, ensure proper anchorage for lifelines, and have a competent person inspect both worksites to identify and correct hazards, according to OSHA.

Additional violations at the Salem jobsite included a lack of eye and face protection for employees working with nail guns and fire hazards from an improper gasoline container.

The agency previously cited the company for fall-related hazards at worksites in North Reading and Peabody, Massachusetts, in 2021 and 2017.

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