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Concrete Maker Hit with 18 Citations

Friday, October 25, 2013

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Silica exposure, confined-space infractions, respiratory hazards, and other health and safety dangers have drawn $153,900 in fines and a lengthy list of federal violations for a New Jersey concrete manufacturer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 18 citations—one willful, 16 serious and one other-than-serious—to County Concrete Corp. after an April inspection prompted by a complaint about its East Orange, NJ, plant.

County Concrete provides aggregate materials, including crushed gravel, washed sand products, certified fill for environmental clean-up, and concrete and mason sand. The company has five locations throughout New Jersey. 

"This company willfully violated OSHA safety standards, compromising worker safety and well-being," Kris Hoffman, OSHA's director of the Parsippany Area Office, said in a press release. "Employers will be held legally responsible when they fail to uphold their responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace."

County Concrete Corp.

OSHA cited County Concrete Corp. for 18 alleged health and safety violations, including one willful, after receiving a complaint alleging silica, respirator, dust and noise hazards.

The two citation documents can be viewed here (safety violations) and here (health violations).

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday (Oct. 24).

18 Alleged Violations

The willful violation, which carries a proposed penalty of $63,000, alleges lack of an established lockout/tagout program to prevent inadvertent machine start-ups and lack of equipment-specific procedures.

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

One other-than-serious violation, which carries no penalty, was issued because the company did not provide Appendix D of the respiratory protection standard to workers wearing respiratory protection.

The 16 serious violations accuse the employer of failing to:

  • Implement a noise monitoring program ($4,500);
  • Maintain an audiometric testing program ($4,500);
  • Institute a noise training program ($4,500);
  • Implement a written respiratory plan for employees exposed to silica who are required to use a full-face respirator ($6,300);
  • Evaluate respiratory hazards for employees exposed to silica ($6,300);
  • Provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear full-face respirators ($6,300);
  • Fit-test employees required to wear full-face respirators before use ($6,300);
  • Store respirators where they wouldn't be damaged or contaminated ($3,600);
  • Provide comprehensive, understandable training before respirator use ($6,300);
  • Ensure employees' exposure to silica did not exceed the eight-hour time weighted average limit ($6,300);
  • Maintain a written hazard communication program or provide training for employees using hazardous chemicals ($4,500);
  • Evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces ($6,300);
  • Inform employees about the existence, location and danger of permit-required confined spaces ($6,300);
  • Implement a confined space program ($6,300);
  • Inspect the energy control procedure ($6,300); and
  • Provide training for the energy control program ($6,300).

Serious violations are those that carry substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

County Concrete Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Tagged categories: Concrete; Confined space; Hazard Communication Standard (HCS); hazardous materials; Hazards; Health and safety; OSHA; Respiratory Protection Standard; Silica

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