Ohio Valley, West Virginia

HomeWest VirginiaOhio Valley

Email Eric T. Chaffin Eric T. Chaffin on Twitter Eric T. Chaffin on Facebook Eric T. Chaffin on Avvo
Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
Attorney • (888) 480-1123

Ohio Company Cited for Failing to Protect Employees from Chemical Hazards

Comments Off

Ohio sign manufacturer Sign Source USA has been cited again for workers’ safety violations.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this is the third time safety and health inspectors have found issues at the company’s Lima manufacturing location. They’ve proposed $46,970 in fines.

Sign Source Still Not Doing Enough to Protect Employees

Sign Source USA was cited for similar issues back in 2006 and again in 2012. OSHA performed a follow-up investigation in December 2015, and found that hazards had still not been eliminated. On June 14, 2016, they cited the company for seven repeated and two serious health violations on June 14, 2016.

The main issue is that employees are not being protected from exposure to respiratory, chemical, and paint hazards. During the 2015 inspection, investigators found:

  • Rags contaminated with flammable liquids left around work areas—they are supposed to be removed daily.
  • The company was failing to provide medical evaluations, fit-testing, and training to employees to protect them from respiratory hazards.
  • Workers weren’t trained concerning certain hazardous chemical use in the facility.
  • Flammable paint thinner containers were not labeled.

Kim Nelson, OSHA area director in Toledo, stated that Sign Source USA is not taking the health of its workers seriously, and reiterated that the company needs to make improvements to its health programs.

Sign Source hired a safety consultant after the 2012 citations, and stated that it had been “constantly improving safety” since that time. The company has scheduled an informal conference with OSHA to discuss the proposed violations on July 5, 2016.

Chemical Hazards Can Lead to Serious Health Problems

Chemical hazards can pose a wide range of health hazards to employees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of these chemicals can be toxic to the human body, and may cause cancer, reproductive problems, neurological effects, asthma, skin irritation, and may even depress the immune system.

These types of chemicals can also cause corrosion, fires, and explosions.

Workers can come into contact with hazardous chemicals by inhaling them, getting them on their skin, or inadvertently consuming them, if they come into contact with food or drink. Breathing contaminated air is the most common way that these chemicals enter the body. Chemical vapors that reach the lungs can pass into the blood and be distributed around the body.

OSHA requires that employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces “must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately. The training for employees must also include information on the hazards of the chemicals in their work area and the measures to be sued to protect themselves.”

OSHA has also set exposure limits, including limits on airborne concentrations of hazardous chemicals, to protect workers.

Workers have the right to proper training, ventilation, and adequate safety equipment (which may include goggles, gloves, helmet, full body suits, etc.). Those who suffer from a chemical exposure injury while on the job are entitled to file a wokers’ compensation claim.