Home » Chemical, electrical, mechanical: Hair product plant runs the gamut of hazards
OSHA has cited Zoto's International Inc. with 44 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at the company's Geneva manufacturing plant. The maker of hair care products faces a total of $233,000 in fines for a cross-section of chemical, mechanical and electrical hazards following an inspection by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.
"Left uncorrected, these conditions expose workers to the dangers of electrocution, lacerations, amputation, fire and hazardous chemicals, as well as being unable to exit the workplace safely in the event of an emergency," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse.
OSHA found numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts, including saws, pulleys, ingoing nip points, pinch points and rotating parts. Electrical hazards encompassed unguarded live parts, electrical wiring that did not conform to a Class 1/Division 1 location, allowing unqualified employees to work on live electrical parts, failing to develop and follow safety-related work practices related to energized parts, and failing to provide training to employees. Other safety hazards include a blocked exit door, flammable liquids used where ignition sources were present, blocked fire extinguishers, storage racks with damaged vertical supports, blocked aisles, fall and tripping hazards, and a lack of "lockout/tagout" procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance.
The inspection also identified several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program, which is designed to prevent the unintended release of large quantities of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical is ethyl alcohol, a flammable liquid used in a blending process. Deficiencies include an incomplete process hazard analysis; inaccurate diagrams of the process; a lack of compliance audits; no written operating procedures for the start up, operations shut down and emergency shut down for the system; and failing to correct deficiencies in the process equipment.
Health hazards include employee overexposure to methylene chloride, a lack of controls to reduce methylene chloride exposure levels, the use of an inappropriate respirator, failing to train workers on the hazards of metyhlene chloride and other chemicals, and failing to label containers of hazardous chemicals.
Among the articles in the January 2021 issue of ISHN Magazine, we continue a series on whistleblowers, offer support for lone workers and provide an exclusive analysis of OSHA under the Biden Administration with commentary from a variety of experts.