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July 25, 2013
OSHA pours on the penalties for acid exposure

An employee complaint about a burn due to an acid spill sent OSHA inspectors to find out what was going on. They discovered a host of violations related to exposure to acid, hazardous chemicals, lead, and cadmium. The alleged violations could cost the strobe light business involved more than $50,000 in fines.

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Learn how proper protective gear could have prevented the problem.

Provide PPE and avoid citations

OSHA cited the business for 15 serious violations, including failure to ensure use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as impervious aprons, boots, and eye and face protection to prevent exposure to acid and other hazardous materials.

The employer also failed to provide an emergency eyewash station in the acid room and did not have a required respiratory protection program. OSHA found, as well, that the company had not properly trained workers on the use of hazardous chemicals.

OSHA requires employers to provide eye and face protection “whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.”

Eye and face protection must comply with ANSI standards and must be marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer. It must also:

  • Fit snugly and not interfere with the wearer’s movements;
  • Be durable;
  • Be easily cleanable and capable of being disinfected;
  • Provide adequate protection from the particular hazard for which it is designed; and
  • Be of safe design and construction for the work to be performed.

When it comes to maintenance and care, be mindful of problems like dirty lenses that can cause reduced vision. Look for slack, worn, or twisted headbands that don’t adequately hold the eye protector in place. If workers wear glasses or contacts, PPE must incorporate the prescription or the worker must use eye protection that can be worn over prescription lenses.

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