Manafort Brothers, Inc. is facing $329,548 in fines for exposing workers to mercury and respirator hazards while they dismantled a mercury boiler at a Portsmouth, NH, worksite, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s inspection, which was in response to workers’ complaints, found employees were suffering from exposur to high levels of mercury during the demolition and Plainville, CT-based Manafort Brothers was not taking steps to reduce those exposures to below permissible levels.

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In addition, the company did not evaluate the respirator program’s effectiveness in protecting workers against exposures and did not consult with the employees to identify and correct any respirator problems.

“These hazards were certainly preventable,” said OSHA’s New Hampshire Area Director Rosemarie O. Cole. “High mercury exposure can result in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. It is critically important that employers remain vigilant and ensure that effective safeguards are in place to prevent and minimize workers’ exposures.”

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OSHA cited the company for two willful and six serious violations concerning mercury, respirators, protective clothing, and sanitary conditions.

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