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Electroplating company exposed workers to hazards

Workers in Connecticut face physical harm from a workplace injury accident that causes noticeable and immediate harm in the form of a back injury, sprain or concussion. However, workers also subject to hidden but ongoing and dangerous exposure to chemicals and contaminants that can lead to long-term medical consequences.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two repeat and 11 serious citations to a Plainview, Connecticut electroplating company on Sept 2. The repeat citations relate to hazards that were uncovered in a 2010 OSHA investigation of this workplace. OSHA recommended a $48,000 penalty for these citations.

OSHA's Hartford Area Director said that employees at this plant work with highly hazardous chemicals and that their employer should take all necessary steps to always protect worker health and well-being. These measures include the monitoring of exposure levels, providing proper and effective protective attire and ensuring the proper training of employees.

OSHA inspectors found that this company did not determine employees' initial exposure to the toxic substances of lead and cadmium, provide worker training on cadmium hazards, prevent cadmium buildup on machinery, evaluate employees' ability to safely operate forklifts and ensure that employees are medically able to wear respirators when required. Additionally, the company did not prevent employees from consuming food and beverages in areas where the toxic substance hexavalent chromium was present, separate flammable spray operations by at least three feet, provide appropriate firefighting training to emergency coordinators and employees and ground and shield an electrical lamp against damage.

OSHA also uncovered two recurring hazards in the investigation. OSHA found that the company used an unapproved electrical outlet in a wet location and failure to guard the operating parts of a machinery against employee contact.

Workers, as these citations show, may be exposed to physical harm and occupational disease from employers who do not comply with workplace laws and keep an unsafe workplace. Injured workers should seek prompt legal assistance to help assure that their rights to workers' compensation are pursued in legal proceedings and mediations.

Source: U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Employees of Plainview, Connecticut electroplating company exposed to chemical, mechanical hazards/Plainview Plating Co. Inc. faces $48k in OSHA penalties," Accessed Sept. 27, 2015

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