The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration has alleged 41 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at EDAC Technologies Corp., a Farmington, Conn., aircraft parts manufacturing plant. The citation refers to “widespread fire, electrical, mechanical and other hazards” discovered during an inspection conducted under a program targeting workplaces with higher than average rates of restricted duty or days away from work due to on-the-job injuries or illnesses.
EDAC Technologies is a holding company for several operations that manufacture engineered products for aerospace and commercial industrial markets. The aerospace divisions manufacture complex structural and rotating components for aircraft engine producers. The commercial divisions designs and manufacture parts for machine tool and aerospace manufacturers, including tooling, jigs, fixtures and spindles. It also services milling, turning, and grinding machines.
The allegations carry proposed fines totaling $130,050. EDAC was given 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 makes employers responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. Citations for “serious hazards” are issued when OSHA inspectors determine that death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards that the employer knew or should have known existed at its site.
OSHA listed a series of problems that its inspectors discovered at the Farmington facility. It said workers were exposed to potential fire and explosion hazards from combustible dust collected in an inadequately designed dust-collection system. Also, several electrical safety deficiencies were found, including unguarded or ungrounded live electrical parts and equipment, and workers not trained in electrical safety related work practices.
In addition, OSHA reported that EDAC’s plant had unmarked emergency exits and obstructed exit routes; inadequate precautions against the ignition of flammable vapors; lack of a site-specific lockout/tagout energy program; an unapproved boom attachment on a fork truck; damaged and unmarked lifting slings; an incomplete exposure control program; lack of a respiratory protection program; failure to determine employees' exposure levels to hexavalent chromium; and numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts.
"The size of these proposed fines reflects the breadth and gravity of conditions identified at this workplace," stated OSHA’s Hartford, Conn., acting area director Paul Mangiafico. "Left uncorrected, they expose workers to possible death or serious injury from fire and explosion, electrocution, falls, being caught in moving machine parts, crushing, exposure to hazardous chemicals, and being unable to exit the plant swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency."