Workers who were dismantling a mercury boiler in Portsmith, New Hampshire were exposed to high levels of mercury, according to OSHA inspectors who took action following workers’ complaints.

In response, OSHA cited Manafort Brothers, Inc. of Plainville, Connecticut for two willful and six serious violations concerning mercury, respirators, protective clothing, and sanitary conditions. The construction contractor faces penalties of $329,548.

OSHA’s inspection found that Manafort Brothers Inc. was not taking steps to reduce exposures to below permissible levels. In addition, the company did not evaluate the respirator program’s effectiveness in protecting workers against exposures and did not consult with the employees to identify and correct any respirator problems.

“These hazards were certainly preventable,” said OSHA’s New Hampshire Area Director Rosemarie O. Cole. “High mercury exposure can result in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. It is critically important that employers remain vigilant and ensure that effective safeguards are in place to prevent and minimize workers’ exposures.”