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Spray Booth Hazards Draw $119K Fine

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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Unsafe spray finishing operations, including flammable liquids and paint booth hazards, are among the violations that have landed a screen printing company in hot water with federal regulators.

A.W.T. World Trade Inc. was fined $119,700 and cited for 28 safety and health violations—27 serious and one other than serious—after an inspection Nov. 14 prompted by a complaint at the Chicago printing machinery manufacturer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced.

A.W.T. World Trade
A.W.T. World Trade Inc.

Spray booth operations at A.W.T. World Trade drew 27 serious citations after an inspection allegedly found flammable liquids, respirator hazards and other violations.

Flammable Hazards

Proposed penalties totaled $119,700 for multiple violations of OSHA's flammable liquids and spray finishing standards, respirator protection standards, electrical standards, and more.

"A.W.T. World Trade failed to implement effective measures during the handling of flammable liquids and associated spray finishing operations," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Office in Des Plaines.

"Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthful work environment. They must provide personal protective equipment and train workers to take precautions to protect themselves from known hazards in their industry," Turek said.

A call to the company requesting comment was not immediately returned Monday (May 20).

Serious Citations Stack Up

Serious violations allege, among other things, that the employer did not ensure that:

  • Flammable paint storage cabinets near the spray booth were fitted with a door equipped with a three-point lock;
  • The booth's interior walls were smooth to prevent pocketing of residues;
  • The booth's floor was covered with non-combustible material to facilitate cleaning and removal of residues and was kept free of accumulated residues;
  • The spray booth system was effectively controlling airborne hazards;
  • The sides of the booth were accessible, with three feet of clear space;
  • Spark-producing equipment was not kept within 20 feet of the spray area;
  • Electrical wiring and equipment in the spray area were of intrinsically safe design;
  • Freshly painted frames were dried inside the booth to allow mechanical ventilation a sufficient time to exhaust vapors;
  • Flammable liquids stored near the spray operation conformed to requirements;
  • Sprinkler heads inside the paint booth were kept free from deposits and cleaned daily;
  • Spray painting of parts and equipment was not conducted outside the booth;
NIOSH respirator

OSHA found that employees were not using proper respiratory protection and were not trained properly on personal protective equipment or the dangers of hazardous chemicals.

  • "No Smoking" signs were posted at the painting operation and paint storage area;
  • Proper eye protection was used, including welding helmets with shaded filter lenses and proper eye protection for employees with prescription glasses and lenses;
  • Training for personal protective equipment, respirators and hazardous chemicals was provided;
  • Appropriate NIOSH-approved respirators were provided based on hazardous exposures;
  • A written respiratory protection program was implemented and a written hazard communication program was maintained;
  • Respirators were stored appropriately;
  • Portable fire extinguishers were identified and mounted for easy access;
  • Machine guarding was provided to protect from rotating parts, flying chips and sparks;
  • Portable sanding and grinding power tools were operated with a blade safety guard; and
  • Employees had access to Material Safety Data Sheets for the hazardous chemicals in their work area.

Serious violations occur when there is a substantial probablity that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

A.W.T. World Trade Inc.

A.W.T. World Trade Inc. "failed to implement effective measures during the handling of flammable liquids and associated spray finishing operations," OSHA's area director said.

The other-than-serious violation was issued because the employer did not certify that a hazard assessment had been conducted in the workplace.

An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The citations were issued on May 10. The company has 15 days from receiving them to contest the violations or request an informal hearing.


Tagged categories: Dry spray; Hazards; Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Respiratory Protection Standard; Spray booths

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