Industry / Legal

OSHA: Jewelry Company Exposed Workers to Chemical Hazards


Jewelry manufacturer Arizona Traders Co. faces nearly $300,000 in fines after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) charged it has failed to protect employees who are working with possibly dangerous chemicals.

On Feb. 28, OSHA issued 12 citations for serious violations, and one citation for a willful violation, to the gold, silver, and nickel plating company’s El Paso, Texas, facility, following an inspection last September. Arizona Traders, which does business as Siltec, has the right to contest the findings.

According to OSHA’s news release, Arizona Traders failed to provide required eyewash stations or showers in areas where employees worked with hydrochloric and nitric acids and ferric chloride.

The agency also charged the company’s premises had obstructed exits, electrical hazards, and improperly stored acetylene and oxygen cylinders. Arizona Traders Co. also failed to establish and implement a program with procedures for determining workplace hazards, it said.

OSHA has recommended fines up to $292,693. The company has 15 business days from the receipt of citations to pay the penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

According to OSHA, this is the fourth time the company has been cited. The agency issued Arizona Traders serious citations in September 2011 and then repeat citations in August 2012 for failing to provide employees with a suitable eye-drenching facility. In September 2012, the company received serious citations for failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment and not conducting required hazard communications.

“This company must change the way it operates and make workplace safety a priority before a tragedy occurs,” said Diego Alvarado, OSHA area director in El Paso, in a statement. “Arizona Traders’ failure to do so is troubling, to say the least.”

The person who answered the phone at Arizona Traders declined comment to JCK.

OSHA guidelines for protecting workers from chemical hazards and toxic substances can be seen here.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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By: Rob Bates

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