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Coating Firm Fined $74K in Fire

Monday, November 26, 2012

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A Connecticut urethane coatings maker is facing federal citations and $74,000 in fines after a fire in August left four workers hospitalized.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Uretek Archer LLC, of New Haven, for four serious and two repeat violations. The fire occurred as employees used a toluene cleaner on a coating machine, authorities said.

The company did not respond Wednesday (Nov. 21) to a request for comment. The company provides custom-engineered polyurethane coatings for fabrics and composites in the defense, aerospace, health-care, and other sectors.

Repeat Violations

The two repeat citations, each of which carries a $30,000 fine, allege that the company:

  • Did not periodically inspect its energy control procedures; and
  • Did not develop document or use sufficient procedures to control hazardous energy when employees were cleaning the machine.
Uretek government & defense capabilities

The company provides custom-engineered polyurethane coatings for fabrics and composites in the defense, government, aerospace, health-care, and other sectors.

OSHA said the company did not have a system of shutting down machines and making sure their power sources were locked out while being cleaned, as OSHA standards require.

OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2008, when it paid $5,525 in fines for four serious violations, according to OSHA records. The agency also assessed one other-than-serious citation that carried no fine in that case.

OSHA also issued one other-than-serious citation, without a fine, against the company after an inspection triggered by a complaint in 2009, the agency's records show.

Serious Violations

The serious citations allege:

  • An inoperable fire alarm system;
  • Inadequate precautions against potential ignition sources while employees were using flammable solvents;
  • Improperly grounded machinery;
  • Lack of assessment to determine employees' needs for personal protective equipment; and
  • Failure to train employees on fire extinguishers.

"Uretek Archer must ensure that fire alarm systems are operable, machines are properly grounded, and protective equipment is available to all employees, among a host of other potentially lifesaving fire precautions," Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport, said in a statement Tuesday (Nov. 20).

The company has 15 business days to contest the findings.


Tagged categories: Coatings manufacturers; Health and safety; OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Solvent and chemical cleaning

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