According to the Department of Labor’s website, OSHA has proposed $139,000 in fines for Associated Spring-Barnes Group Inc. following an inspection by the Hartford Area Office that found electrical, mechanical, exit access, fall and combustible dust hazards. OSHA also cited the company for 30 alleged “serious violations” of workplace safety standards at their Bristol, Connecticut metal stamping plant:
The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the breadth and seriousness of the hazards identified at this work site,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Left uncorrected, they expose the plant’s employees to burns, falls, electric shocks, lacerations, amputations, hearing loss, fires and explosions, and being unable to exit the workplace safely in the event of an emergency. For the safety of its workers, this employer must take effective and expeditious action to eliminate these conditions and prevent their recurrence.”
Perhaps the most grave violation was the allowance of build up of combustible dust that, combined with improper ventilation, could have led to disaster:
…two of the plant’s dust collection systems lacked controls to prevent or suppress fires and explosions, and three emergency exit routes led through areas where the dust collection systems would vent if a fire occurred. Inspectors also found a variety of machine guarding, electrical and fall hazards; damaged protective gloves; and an improperly stored container of combustible liquid. Finally, the employer did not provide an emergency eyewash, refitted hearing protection for employees who sustained a standard threshold shift in their hearing and a fire extinguisher in an area where combustible aluminum is cut.
OSHA’s classification of these offenses as “serious violations” means there was a probability of serious harm or fatality that the company knew about or should have known about. The inspection of Associated Spring-Barnes Group Inc was part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program. That program focuses on work sites that have a ‘workdays lost to injury or illness ratio’ higher than the industry average.