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Ungerer & Company is facing $63,450 in fines for eight health and safety violations at its Bethlehem, PA, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Investigators issued one repeat and six serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation.

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OSHA received a referral on Jan. 27 from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency saying Ungerer & Company employees suffered respiratory distress from an unknown chemical odor, prompting an investigation.

The agency found repeat violations when the employer failed to use approved electrical equipment to clean up combustible dust, and did not train employees expected to participate in emergency response operations. The company faced similar violations in 2013.

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The serious violations included:
• A mobile ladder stand not equipped with safety stops to prevent horizontal movement
• A dust collection unit handling combustible dust not provided with proper explosion protection or suppression systems
• No developed emergency response plan
• Employees overexposed to hydrogen sulfide
• Feasible administrative and engineering controls not implemented
• Safety data sheets not maintained and without required safety and health information

The company also did not conduct periodic re-evaluations of its hazardous energy control program, resulting in the other-than-serious citation.

“Ungerer & Company should immediately implement safeguards to protect its workers from the dangerous risks associated with exposure to combustible dust and chemical hazards,” said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA’s Allentown Area Office. “Employers will be held legally accountable for failing to provide a safe and healthful workplace.”

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