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OSHA imposes fines on local bagging plant

Cranesville Aggregate Co., doing business as Scotia Bag Plant, in Scotia, faces a total of $509,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health administration, according to a statement on Thursday, Nov. 12.

According to a press release from OSHA, the plant has been cited for, \33 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards following comprehensive OSHA inspections over the past six months.

The Scotia plant bags cement and asphalt and has been cited for numerous health and safety hazards including plant employees that bagged cement who were exposed to cement dust without adequate ventilation, respiratory protection, personal protection equipment and training, according to OSHA.

"The significant fines proposed here reflect the breadth and gravity of hazards found at this plant, their recurring nature and this employer's knowledge," said acting Assistant Secretary for OSHA Jordan Barab in the Nov. 12 statement.

"Workers have been needlessly exposed to potentially disabling or fatal respiratory illness, falls, crushing injuries, burns, lacerations, amputation and electrocution," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany in a statement. "This employer needs to take effective and ongoing corrective action to protect the health and safety of these workers."

OSHA also found that the plant did not evaluate and identify respiratory hazards, train forklift operators or prevent an employee from working under a suspended load. OSHA has issued the plant six willful citations with $375,000 in fines. A willful citation is defined by OSHA as a violation, "committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health."

Seven repeat citations, totaling in $75,000, have also been issues for conditions that are similar to Cranesville facilities in Kingston, Glens Falls and Fishkill including unlabeled containers of hazardous materials, unsanitary workplace, fall and electrical hazards. Twenty serious citations, totaling in $59,000 in fines, were issued for violations including a lack of personal protection equipment, obstructed exits, lack of emergency eyewashes, and additional forklift and electrical hazards; according to an OSHA statement

"One means through which employers can prevent recurring hazards is an effective safety and health management system in which they work with employees to evaluate, identify, and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York in a release."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.""

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