As of Jan. 12, 2009, OSHA can issue per-employee citations for personal protective equipment and training violations. Now we have an example of how the agency, under the Obama administration, plans to use its new, powerful weapon.
OSHA has proposed more than $1.2 million in penalties relating to the handling of hazardous chemicals at G.S. Robins & Co., dba Ro-Corp, Inc., in East St. Louis, MO.
Ro-Corp faces 21 willful citations, 20 of which were cited on a per-instance basis:
- 8 instances of failing to provide employees with the correct PPE for transferring para-nitroaniline (PNA), a poison
- 4 instances of failing to provide training on the use of PPE and on working with hazardous chemicals
- 3 instances of failing to provide PPE training and training on specific PNA-transfer procedures, and
- 5 instances of failing to fit-test employees using respirators.
OSHA also issued a repeat citation for failing to provide an eyewash/shower in corrosive chemical areas and 16 serious citations for hazards associated with the transfer of PNA and other workplace practices.
PNA is highly toxic and can be fatal if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
OSHA investigated Ro-Corp after learning that employees had been admitted to several local hospitals after being contaminated with an unknown powder that turned out to be PNA. All employees recovered after treatment.
To learn more about OSHA’s ability to issue fines on a per-employee basis, click here.