BioLab cited by OSHA

CONYERS — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Biolab Inc. with one repeat and six serious safety violations following a March inspection at the company’s facility in Conyers. The agency initiated the inspection upon receiving a complaint, and has proposed penalties of $46,250, according to a press release issued by OSHA.

Michael Muirhead, director of manufacturing at BioLab Inc., said the company has not been notified by OSHA about the violations. He said OSHA inspectors were on site about six months ago but have not contacted the company about the results of the inspection.

“We simply can’t comment on anything we don’t know anything about,” Muirhead said.

The repeat violation, with $25,000 in penalties, involves the employer exposing workers to chlorine above the ceiling limit, according to OSHA. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in September 2009.

Six serious safety violations, with $21,250 in penalties, involve worker exposure to electrical hazards from openings in a junction box and electrical panels; failure to provide machine guarding on a chain and sprocket; and exposure to pinch point and fall hazards. Additionally, BioLab failed to provide training for workers required to operate powered industrial trucks, and provide access to eyewash stations for workers whose duties involve corrosive materials, according to OSHA. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“This employer continues to expose its workers to hazards that have been previously identified, and remain unaddressed,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “It’s imperative that management immediately eliminate workplace hazards.”

Biolab Inc., a manufacturer of pool chemical products, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Atlanta-East area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.