HARTFORD, Conn. – West Hartford Stairs and Cabinets has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 16 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its 17 Main St. manufacturing plant in Newington. This follows inspections conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office in response to an April 14, 2014, incident in which an employee lost parts of two fingers in an inadequately guarded machine. The manufacturer of stairs and cabinets faces $60,200 in fines.

"This is exactly the type of serious injury that proper guarding of a machine's operating parts would have prevented," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "Equally disturbing were the fire, chemical and electrical hazards identified during our inspections. It's imperative that this employer take prompt and effective corrective action to eliminate these hazards and prevent their recurrence."

In addition to the machine guarding hazards, OSHA found that employees were exposed to fire hazards from a dust collection system that lacked a spark detector to prevent hot metal from entering the dust collector and igniting an explosion. Other fire hazards included improper disposal of flammable rags; accumulations of flammable chemicals on spray booth walls and combustible dust in electrical outlets; and failure to have at least two emergency exits from the spraying room where flammable liquids were used. Additional safety hazards included employees' exposure to falls from an unguarded second-story work platform and eye injuries from using inadequate safety glasses.

The company failed to conduct hazard assessments for proper protective clothing and ensure employees wore protective gloves when working with hazardous chemicals; have an emergency eyewash station; train employees in the physical and health hazards of hazardous chemicals; provide adequate hazard communication training and a hearing threshold exam for an employee exposed to high noise levels; and train employees about noise hazards and health hazards of methylene chloride.

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.

West Hartford Stairs and Cabinets has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Hartford Area Office at 860-240-3152.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, http://www.osha.gov/.

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