Follow-Up Inspection Unearths Several Violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined New Jersey pet food manufacturer $152,829 for exposing employees to unsafe work conditions. The violations, which include failing to implement a respiratory protection program, were found during a follow-up inspection at the company’s Howell, NJ facility.
The company was initially inspected twice in 2017 after an employee had four fingers amputated when a batch mixer activated while being cleaned.
OSHA cited the pet food manufacturer for the following violations:
- Failing to develop a respiratory protection program for employees who are required to wear tight-fitting respirators
- Failing to develop a lockout/tagout program to prevent unexpected machine startup
- Exposing employees to unguarded machinery
- Failing to adequately train and certify employees to operate a forklift.
Health & Safety Must Both Be Considered
While safety is an important issue in manufacturing and production – the health of employees is just as important, and often, much more nuanced. Developing a successful respiratory protection program is more than simply providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers.
Here are 5 steps for getting your respiratory program started:
1. Evaluate your contaminants — Generally, industrial hygienists will evaluate a workplace in order to determine if employees are at risk of exposure.
Airborne contaminants can present a significant threat in the form of dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smoke, sprays, and vapor.
2. Create a written respiratory protection program – A program administrator is responsible for developing and implementing a written respiratory protection program.
This should include specific procedures and elements for respirator use. The written program should also outline procedures for the following steps.
3. Select proper respirators – Employers should select respirators based on the findings from step #1. Identified hazards and workplace & user factors should all go into selecting the best equipment.
Respirators must be NIOSH certified.
4. Provide medical evaluations – Before an employee can be given for fit tested for a respirator, they must complete a medical evaluation to determine their medical eligibility for respirator use.
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5. Fit testing – Employees should then be fit tested with the exact same make, model, and size of the respirator that will be used in the workplace. Tight-fitting face pieces must past appropriate qualitative or quantitative fit tests.
Learn More About Mobile Respirator Fit Testing: CLICK HERE
After these steps are completed employees can begin using their respirators. Employees should be sure to also provide procedures for maintenance & care, breathing air quality, identification of filters, cartridges, and canisters, and training in their respiratory program.
Respiratory hazards rank annually as a top-10 OSHA violation. Don’t let your job site fall out of compliance.
Get your mobile respiratory program started with Worksite Medical today. Your employees can complete their respirator clearance questionnaire with our online tool. Then, our mobile medical unit can come directly to your work site to perform fit testing.
We’ll help you get your program up and running quickly and efficiently. Give us a call today at 1-844-OCCUMED, and check out our full list of mobile services HERE.
OSHA’s Full Respirator Standard: CLICK HERE
Create a Less Disruptive, More Productive Occupational Health Plan with Worksite Medical!
Are you looking for a way to keep your team safe, while also limiting risk and increasing production? Simplify your medical plan today. We help team leaders like you develop less disruptive, more convenient occupational health plans that comply with complex industry standards, thus creating a healthier, more productive workforce. Take control of your medical testing program.