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January 25th, 2012

OSHA cites New Windsor plant for violations

Albany - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Felt & Filter Co. for 35 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards at its New Windsor plant. The company, which manufactures woolen felt, faces a total of $146,300 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office.

“Our inspections identified numerous safety and health hazards, including several similar to those cited during earlier OSHA inspections of this facility,” said Arthur Dube, the agency’s acting area director in Albany. “Left uncorrected, these hazards expose employees to possible electrocution, crushing and struck-by injuries, being caught in moving machine parts, hearing loss, falls, eye and hand injuries, asbestos and lead.”

In addition to identifying machine guarding and electrical hazards, OSHA found that the plant failed to inspect cranes and lifting devices; remove an unsafe powered industrial truck from service; properly stack materials; monitor noise levels, and test and train employees exposed to excessive noise levels; provide first-aid supplies, eye and hand protection, and an emergency eyewash; ensure appropriate respiratory protection and other safeguards for employees exposed to lead; perform asbestos exposure monitoring; identify and label asbestos-containing materials; and provide training for employees on asbestos hazards. These conditions resulted in citations for 32 serious violations carrying $118,580 in penalties.

Three repeat violations carrying $27,720 in fines involve unguarded lathes and failure to implement an effective respiratory protection program. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the plant for similar hazards in 2007.

“One means of preventing new and recurring hazards is to implement and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

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