The incident took place in Litchfield County at PM Engineered Solutions Inc. when an employee of the metal fabrication company was electrocuted in July while repairing a portable water heater in Watertown.
An inspection by OSHA found that the company lacked safeguards to protect employees against electrocution, as well as mechanical, chemical, fall, and other electrical hazards, said the US Department of Labor.
OSHA cited the company for 40 serious and eight other-than-serious violations of workplace safety and health standards found during its comprehensive inspection of the facility, the department said.
PM Engineered Solutions Inc. now faces a total of $236,201 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to develop procedures to lock out the water heater’s power source during maintenance or provide lockout training to the deceased employee, the department said.
They also found the company failed to check energy control procedures periodically.
“This employee lost his life due to the employer’s failure to implement required energy control procedures,” said OSHA Area Director Dale Varney in Hartford. “Of equal concern is the broad cross-section of hazards throughout the facility. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to being crushed, caught in moving machine parts, burned, chemical exposures, falling and being unable to exit the workplace promptly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or explosion.”
OSHA identified additional hazards during its inspection of the plant, including:
- 62 instances of inadequately guarded machinery, including mechanical power presses, forges, hydraulic presses, and grinding machinery.
- Numerous electrical safety violations, including exposed live electrical parts, uncovered electrical boxes, flexible cords used in lieu of permanent wiring, and material stored in front of electrical panels.
- Open or unlabeled tanks and containers of hazardous chemicals.
- Improperly located or designed collection systems for combustible dust.
- Lack of personal protective equipment for employees.
- Unsecured or improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.
- Lack of a permit-required confined space program for employees who regularly entered a machine pit.
- Uninspected damaged and unmarked chain slings.
- Uninspected, inadequate, and improperly altered powered fork trucks.
- Failure to periodically evaluate fork truck operators’ performance.
- Missing or inadequate exit signage.
The company has 15 days to comply or contest the findings.
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