Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has cited a Portland-area custom floor coatings company for 13 serious violations – four of them repeat offenses – of workplace health and safety rules. The agency’s inspection found Specialty Coatings Inc. exposed workers to multiple hazards, including the potential for fire and severe burns, suffocation, and lung disease.
The inspection – launched in response to two separate confidential complaints – examined work operations at the company’s main office and warehouse in Tigard, and job sites in Hillsboro and Portland. Those work operations included handling flammable liquids, grinding concrete floors, and applying chemicals.
The inspection’s findings included that the company did not properly handle and store flammable liquids, raising fire and severe burn dangers; failed to provide a medical evaluation before requiring the use of a respirator, increasing the risk of suffocation or heart attack; and lacked a plan to control workers exposure to dust containing crystalline silica, a byproduct of concrete grinding that can cause lung disease and cancer.
Four of the 13 violations – including the breach of the medical evaluation requirement – are repeat offenses stemming from previous Oregon OSHA inspections of Specialty Coatings.
“The numerous hazards identified in this case are preventable and controllable through practical measures that are available to employers,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “There is no good reason to fail to implement them – much less to repeatedly fail to do so.”
The citation against Specialty Coatings carries a total proposed penalty of $2,855. The fine amount includes a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company, which employed seven people at the time of Oregon OSHA’s inspection. Altogether, the inspection found:
- The company did not electrically bond and ground metal drums of flammable liquid with secondary containers to prevent sparks from causing a fire.
- More than 120 gallons of flammable liquid were stored outside adequate safety storage cabinets.
- The company failed to provide adequate notification and training about the health hazards of breathing in crystalline silica.
- The company did not ensure that specific tasks that could expose workers to crystalline silica were understood.
- The company failed to establish and carry out a silica exposure control plan, including descriptions of engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection.
- The company did not provide an adequate fit-test for at least two employees who were required to wear tight-fitting respirators.
- The company allowed at least one employee, who was required to wear a tight-fitting respirator, to put it on with facial hair that came between the sealing surfaces of the mask.
- The company did not provide training to employees so they could understand the labels on hazardous chemicals they worked with.
- A safety data sheet for at least one hazardous chemical used by employees was missing
- The company failed to provide an adequate medical evaluation to at least one employee who used a tight-fitting, half-face respirator. This was the company’s second repeat violation of this requirement over the past two years.
- The company did not ensure that at least two employees stored their respirators in a clean location – a repeat violation.
- The company failed to set up and carry out a respiratory protection program, including procedures for cleaning and disinfecting respirators, and changing out expired filter cartridges. This was a repeat violation.
- The company failed to hold effective monthly safety meetings – a repeat violation.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health.
The agency’s technical staff members can answer questions about rules and how to apply them:
Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689
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Employers may also contact Oregon OSHA’s no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs:
Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689
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