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A. Hyatt Ball Co. Inc., a manufacturer of custom-sized resin balls used in the petroleum industry, failed to protect its employees from safety risks by not providing and using mandatory safeguards, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Officials began inspecting the A. Hyatt Ball Co. Inc. plant in Fort Edward, NY, in October in response to complaints. Inspectors identified 48 violations of workplace safety and health standards, resulting in $105,200 in proposed fines.

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“Our inspection identified a disturbing number of violations,” said Kim Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “A. Hyatt Ball lacks basic safety and health programs to prevent fires, explosions or an uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer and can cause allergic reactions to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.”

“The ball manufacturing process requires the storage and use of up to 1,900 pounds of a flammable formaldehyde solution,” she said. “When storing or using more than 1,000 pounds of formaldehyde in a chemical process, the company has a responsibility to protect its employees with an effective Process Safety Management program.”

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OSHA found the plant lacked such a program. In addition, inspectors found the presence of combustible resin dust; flammable liquids improperly stored and transferred; no audible fire alarm and fire-suppression system; and locked and obstructed exit routes. All of these violations increased the risk of employees dying, suffering injuries or unable to escape from a fire or explosion.

“Protecting its employees must be an active, ongoing process for A. Hyatt Ball. The company must correct not only the chemical, fire and explosion hazards, but also the wide range of violations that expose its employees to falls, crushing injuries, chemical burns, lacerations and eye and face injuries,” Castillon said.

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