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Railcar Finishing Work Nets $170K Fine

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

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A New York manufacturer of rail and aircraft interiors is facing 24 federal health and safety citations and $170,100 in fines for coating, sanding and related hazards at its plant in Champlain.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued willful and serious violations against Testori Interiors Inc.after a March 28 inspection triggered by an employee's complaint.

"Testori's deficient safety protocols place its workers at grave risk of injury, including amputation risks and death," Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's Albany area director, said in a release.

Testori Interiors
Testori Interiors Inc.

Testori Interiors has been cited for 24 violations after an inspection triggered by a worker's complaint. Another complaint prompted an OSHA inspection in 2006.

No injuries resulted from the hazards, Castillon said, adding: "The large penalties proposed in this case reflect the severity of the hazards and this employer's disregard for safety."

Testori Interiors, established in 2001, did not respond Tuesday (Oct. 1) to a request for comment.

Amputation Hazards

The willful citation—OSHA's highest level of infraction—alleges that Testori lacked lockout and tagout procedures to protect employees who were performing maintenance on sanders, presses and other equipment at the 100,000-square-foot plant.

OSHA said employees cleared debris from machines, changed sander belts and cleaned equipment without procedures to prevent accidental activation of the equipment, OSHA said.

The violation carries a proposed fine of $63,000.

Isocyanates
NIOSH

OSHA says Testori Interiors employees were not protected from exposure to toxic chemicals including isocyanates, the focus of a new National Emphasis Program.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Coating Health Violations

Serious health violations accuse Testori of :

  • Lining spray booths with combustible paper to capture overspray;
  • Failing to provide protective gloves for employees who mixed and sprayed coatings made with toluene and benzene;
  • Failing to provide an effective, written respiratory protection program for employees who spray-coated plymetal panel assembies;
  • Failing to fit-test a respirator for an employee who performed spray coating;
  • Failure to have Material Safety Data Sheets available for industrial coatings and solvents;
  • Failure to train employees in working with those products; and
  • Failing to develop a written hazard communication program for spraycoaters and lamination line employees who work with industrial coatings, solvents and glues.
HexChrome
NIOSH

Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen and toxic chemical used in a variety of industrial compounds.

Serious safety violations allege:

  • Requiring employees to mix and spray solvent-based paints and paint thinners near the CNC machine, "which regularly caught fire or maintained open flame";
  • Not training employees in, or alerting them to, the confined-space, mechanical and chemical hazards of cleaning a glue pit in a hydraulic press;
  • Lacking a confined-space permit and rescue program for these employees;
  • A variety of electrical hazards;
  • Failure to train employees in lockout/tagout procedures and machine guarding hazards for industrial sanders and other equipment; and
  • Allowing employees to clean themselves with compressed air at 100 to 120 psi.

Serious violations reflect a "substantial probability" of death or serious injury from a hazard the employer knew, or should have known, about.

In addition, one other-than-serious violation alleges inadequate record keeping of illnesses and injuries.

The company has 15 businesses days from receipt of the citations to respond.

About the Company

Testori Interiors is a subsidiary of the Testori Group, which produces interiors for aircraft and mass trainsit industries. The company also owns Testori Americas Corp. of Canada and Wiebel Aerospace Inc.

Respiratory Protection
University of Michigan-Dearborn

OSHA cited Testori Interiors in 2006 and again in March for lack of respiratory protection for workers, including painters.

According to OSHA records, Testori Interiors was cited in 2006 for five serious and three other-than-serious health violations related to respiratory protection. The citations were reduced to two serious and one other-than-serious, and the fine was reduced to $1,575 from $2,250.

Four serious and one other-than-serious safety citations issued at the same time related to general requirements and wiring design. Those were later reduced to two serious and one other-than-serious citation, and the fine was cut to $2,625 from $3,750, according to OSHA.

That inspection was also triggered by a complaint.

   

Tagged categories: Confined space; Enforcement; hazardous materials; Health and safety; Hexavalent chromium; Isocyanate; OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Railcars; Respirators; Respiratory Protection Standard; Shop-applied coatings; Spray booths; Worker training

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