OSHA cites biopharmaceutical manufacturer for chemical, noise violations

1 year 5 months 2 days ago Wednesday, April 20 2016 Apr 20, 2016 Wednesday, April 20, 2016 3:56:00 PM CDT April 20, 2016 in News
By: Jennifer Prohov, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

SPRINGFIELD - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced Abec Inc. had six safety violations, four of them serious, after an inspection at the company's Springfield facility in January. Two of those violations were first cited last July.

The company, a biopharmaceutical manufacturer, was found to have exposed workers to “to hazardous levels of hexavalent chromium and potentially deafening noise as they welded and ground stainless steel and other alloy steels,” according to an OSHA news release.

High levels of the chemical have been shown to cause lung cancer, as well as respiratory, eye and skin damage.   

Barbara Theroit, OSHA’s area director in Kansas City, said Abec’s neglect was unacceptable.

"Abec's failure to address serious workplace hazards endangers the safety and well-being of its workers. There is no excuse for finding identical hazards in a follow-up inspection," Theroit said. "The company must monitor a worker's exposure to chromium ,which often occurs during 'hot work' such as welding on stainless steel and other alloys. Abec has to fix its safety and health program immediately."

The January inspection found that the company did not train employees properly on the safety risks of the chemical and did not reduce and monitor employees’ exposure levels to it. The inspection also found that the company was not compliant with respiratory protection standards and that it allowed chemical dust to accumulate in the facility.

Proposed penalties for the company total $95,000.

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