MFB Holdings LLC, doing business as M.F. Blouin, a manufacturer of acrylic and wooden sign holders and displays is facing $63,700 in fines for overexposure to a toxic chemical at its Rollinsford, NH, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA opened safety and health inspections Dec. 1 to verify M.F. Blouin had corrected violations cited during OSHA inspections in 2013. The earlier inspections resulted in citations for violations involving chemical safety, hazard communication, electrical equipment and emergency exit access. The company agreed to correct the cited hazards and paid $21,100 in fines.
However, the follow up inspections found plant employees suffered overexposure to the toxic chemical Methylene Chloride during wood laminating work and the plant lacked engineering controls to reduce those exposure levels below permissible exposure limits. The company also failed to determine if employees ended up exposed to methylene chloride, provide them with respirators, proper eye and face protection and with medical surveillance.
Exposure to methylene chloride can result in lightheadedness, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting and headaches and, with continued exposure, unconsciousness and even death. Methylene Chloride also falls in the category of a suspected human carcinogen. Other hazards included a too-narrow aisle leading to an emergency exit, mislabeled containers of hazardous chemicals and electrical outlets and equipment located within 20 feet of the spray area where volatile flammable liquids and gases are used. As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited MFB Holdings for six repeat and three serious violations of workplace health and safety standards.
“The recurrence of hazards similar to those we cited in 2013 show that this employer still needs to take additional steps to effectively address these hazards and protect the health and well-being of its employees. These violations should not be happening again,” said Rosemarie Ohar Cole, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director. “We remind Granite State employers that we can and do conduct follow up inspections to verify that hazards have been eliminated. Never assume that OSHA will ‘go away’ after a case is settled.”