OSHA cites cabinetry, countertop manufacturer Salko Kitchens for combustible dust, chemical hazards at its New Windsor, New York, facility, proposes fines totallying US$51,800; workers face 'immediate and long-term health and safety hazards' says official

ALBANY, New York , April 2, 2014 (press release) – Salko Kitchens Inc. faces $51,800 in fines

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that workers at Salko Kitchens Inc. were exposed to fire and explosion hazards and a potential occupational carcinogen due to deficient required safeguards. Proposed fines total $51,800.

"These workers face both immediate and long-term health and safety hazards from on-site conditions," said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "The combustible dust can ignite and explode in seconds, and the methylene chloride is cancerous. For the health and well-being of its employees, it's imperative that this employer correct these hazards and take effective steps to prevent them from happening again."

OSHA cited the New Windsor, N.Y., plant that manufactures cabinetry and countertops for 13 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards following a December 2013 inspection by OSHA's Albany Area Office. 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.

The agency found that combustible dust accumulated on plant pipes, equipment, supports and ductwork, and an inadequate system did not collect and remove the dust safely. In addition, while spraying adhesives on countertops and molding during the manufacturing process, employees were overexposed to the hazardous chemical methylene chloride*. Overexposure to methylene chloride may result in mental confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and eye and respiratory tract irritation. Long-term exposure may cause cancer and damage to the central nervous system.

OSHA's inspection determined that feasible administrative and engineering controls were not in place to reduce methylene chloride exposure levels. Workers lacked adequate respiratory protection, protective gloves, eye protection, training, and medical evaluations and information on methylene chloride. In addition, employees were exposed to electric shock from exposed wiring and crushing injuries from powered industrial trucks driven by untrained operators.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Albany Area Office at 518-464-4338. 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, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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