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Friday, July 26, 2013

Jersey City, NJ, theatrical equipment company cited by OSHA for exposing workers to workplace safety and health hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Acadia Scenic Inc., which builds scenery for the entertainment industry, with 22 safety and health violations, including two willful. The citations followed an April inspection, prompted by the agency's Health-High-Hazard Top 50 Local Emphasis Program and its Amputations and Combustible Dust Emphasis Program. Proposed penalties total $49,600.

The willful violations, with $28,000 in penalties, were cited for a lack of guarding on hand-fed circular ripsaws and crosscut table saws. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The 19 serious violations, with $21,200 in penalties, include the company's failure to keep the workplace clean and orderly; prevent accumulations of explosive dust; provide railings on stairs; establish or implement a written respiratory protection program for workers required to wear respirators; have fire extinguishers mounted and readily accessible for use; and provide an educational program on the general principles of fire extinguisher use and hazards involved for workers expected to fight incipient stage fires.

The company was also cited for failing to provide machine guarding for a miter saw; provide spreaders and nonkickback devices on two hand-fed circular ripsaws; properly adjust a work rest on grinding machinery; determine each employee's exposure to methylene chloride; provide appropriate gloves and eyewash facilities for workers using methylene chloride-containing adhesives; and develop and implement a written hazard communication program that includes training for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"Each of these hazards threaten the company's ability to provide employees with a safe and healthful work environment, and should be corrected immediately," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Office. "OSHA will continue to hold employers responsible when they fail to protect their workers."

Inspectors also cited the company for one other-than-serious violation, which carries a $400 penalty, for not recording a workplace injury on the employer's OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Acadia Scenic Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Parsippany or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.