The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a Somerville, New Jersey, cabinet manufacturing company for wilfully exposing its workers to chemical hazards, according to a press release issued by the agency last month.
According to the press release, OSHA issued 15 violations to the company including three wilful, after an inspection in March 2014. The inspection was conducted as part of the agency’s Site’s Specific Targeting Program that monitors industries with high injury and illness rates.
In particular, the company was cited for exposing workers to the chemical methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. The three wilful violations were that the company, Choice Cabinetry LLC, had no hazard communication program to inform workers about their risks, provided no hazard communication training, and offered no methylene chloride training. A wilful violation means that the violation occurred intentionally, with disregard for legal requirements or indifference to worker health and safety. The company was also cited for failing to provide personal protective equipment and facilities for washing eyes after exposure to the chemical.
People exposed to methylene chloride are not only at increased risk for cancer, but are more likely to suffer skin and eye irritation as well as problems with the heart, central nervous system and liver.
Another violation involved the company’s failure to install alarms on the spray booth that would warn employees of insufficient ventilation during spraying. This is a repeat violation that was cited by OSHA after a previous inspection.
Other citations involved damaging noise levels and failing to provide an adequate respiratory program. The company was also cited for these violations in 2011.
Another violation occurred when the company failed to provide records of worker injuries and illnesses within four hours of the request.
The Occupational Safety and Health At of 1970 that established OSHA makes employers responsible for giving employees safe and healthy workplaces.