Rail Equipment Manufacturer Cited In Chemical Exposure Violation
A Steuben County-based rail manufacturing and repair facility in Hornell, NY, Alstom Transportation Inc., was recently cited with seventeen violations totaling $105,000, following an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Among those seventeen citations were four chemical exposure violations which left those employees at the facility, involved in sandblasting and welding, exposed to unsafe levels of chromium, copper fume, iron oxide, and silica. Other violations included a failure to provide cleaning areas for those employees who worked with cadmium, improper housekeeping leading to the dining area being contaminated with lead and silica residue, several noise violations, and citations related to respiratory combustible materials and blood-borne pathogen hazards.
Syracuse OSHA Area Director, Chris Adams, said, “Employers who work with hazardous materials like these need to first determine if the materials can be removed by replacing them with something less hazardous. If not, employers must use the correct ventilation to reduce airborne exposure levels to below the OSHA limits. These hazards are preventable when employers ensure safety guidelines are followed.”
Diseases Related to Chemical Exposure
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the cardiovascular, renal, and reproductive systems can all be compromised due to unsafe levels of chemical exposure. Several diseases, including mesothelioma and silicosis, are specific to those chemicals involved in the violations regarding Alstom Transportation.
Employers are required to identify and evaluate the chemical hazards in their workplace. Various types of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) are listed on OSHA’s various Safety and Health webpages on chemical hazards and toxic substances. For proper adherence to the standards and regulations set forth by OSHA, On-Site OSHA Training is recommended.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and updated workplace for their employees.