Rothe Welding Inc. of Saugerties, NY, is facing $52,280 in fines for failure to abate and repeat and serious workplace health violations, said officials at the Occupational Saftey and Health Administration (OSHA).
The fines for the metal fabricator come following an inspection initiated in September 2012 by OSHA’s Albany Area Office to verify the correction of hazards cited during a January 2012 inspection. The company faced previous citations for seven violations of safety and health standards.
One of the uncorrected hazards involves failing to provide workers with information and training about the hazards of lead and other substances in the workplace.
As a result, OSHA cited Rothe Welding for failing to abate the hazard and has proposed a fine of $36,000. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice found upon reinspection the employer originally faced a citation and did not correct.
“Despite having sufficient time to correct all hazards cited during the previous inspection, this employer failed to do so. In addition, other hazards were allowed to recur and new hazards were identified,” said Kim Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “The proposed fines reflect both the severity of these hazards, which expose workers to potentially serious health conditions, as well as this employer’s failure to take all effective corrective action.”
Additionally, two repeat violations with $10,560 in fines involve an inadequate respirator protection program, failing to medically evaluate workers to determine their ability to wear respirators, and failing to ensure employees using tight-fitting respirators ended up fit tested. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Citations for three serious violations carrying $5,720 in fines involve failing to clean and disinfect respirators before usage; store respirators in safe locations to protect them from damage, dust, extreme temperatures or moisture; and to provide lead hazard information to potentially exposed workers. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
“One means of preventing hazards is through an effective illness and injury prevention program in which workers and managers work together to identify and eliminate hazards that can injure or sicken workers,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.