County Concrete Corp. of East Orange, New Jersey is facing $88,544 in penalties after OSHA inspectors found multiple safety and health violations at the company. Foremost among them: employees were exposed to silica above the permissible limit as they cleaned concrete mixers. OSHA cited County Concrete for these same hazards in 2013.

The company received two citations for one repeat and two failure-to-abate violations.

OSHA conducted an inspection on July 19, 2016, as a follow-up to the settlement of citations the company received in 2013. The agency issued citations to County Concrete in 2013 for 18 safety and health violations, and assessed $153,900 in penalties.

The agency cited the repeated violation because the company again failed to conduct annual tests to ensure that respirators fit employees properly while they were cleaning concrete mixers. Silica exposure can cause serious illnesses and damage to the respiratory system.

The failure-to-abate violations involved the company's failure to:

  • Develop and implement a written respiratory protection program for employees required to wear respirators during concrete mixer cleaning operations.
  • Provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators to determine their ability to use them without their health being compromised.

Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office, said; "Employers must bear the responsibility of fully complying with respiratory protection requirements to protect the safety and health of their workers."

OSHA issued a final rule on respirable silica permissible exposure limits (PELs) on March 25, 2016. The compliance date for the new PELs is January 24, 2018.