A New Hampshire company has been accused of violations involving chemical safety and faces a fine of $63,700.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said on Monday that follow-up inspections at sign manufacturer M.F. Blouin had identified new and recurring hazards for its employees.
The inspections in December 2014 were carried out to verify that M.F. Blouin had corrected problems found in 2013, including breaches of rules on chemical safety, hazard communication, electrical equipment and access to emergency exits. At the time, the company agreed to correct the cited hazards and paid a penalty of $21,100.
However, the latest inspections found that plant employees were overexposed to the toxic chemical methylene chloride during wood laminating work and the plant lacked engineering controls to reduce those exposure levels below permissible limits. According to OSHA, the company also failed to determine if employees were exposed to methylene chloride, or provide them with respirators, proper eye and face protection and medical surveillance.
Other hazards identified by the federal agency included a too-narrow aisle leading to an emergency exit; mislabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; and electrical outlets and equipment located within 20 feet of the spray area where volatile flammable liquids and gases are used.
Rosemarie Ohar Cole, OSHA's New Hampshire area director, said: "The recurrence of hazards similar to those we cited in 2013 show that this employer still needs to take additional steps to effectively address these hazards and protect the health and well-being of its employees. Information and assistance is available to help employers comply with health and safety requirements. These violations should not be happening again."