Confined Space Procedures Violations Lead to Costly Fines For Cosmetic Company

Confined space procedures were found inadequate at a cosmetic manufacturer.Confined space procedures for many manufacturers are critical to the safety of workers. One company, U.S. Cosmetics was fined over $53,000 by OSHA after 20 serious violations  were found in its manufacturing plant in Dayville, Connecticut. The company manufactures surface treated pigments and mineral substrates. These include talc, mica, sericite, and kaolin for the cosmetics industry. Inspections began at the plant in October 2012 as part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Programs which directs enforcement resources to workplaces with high injury and illness rates.


Confined Space Procedures Key to OSHA Compliance

In violation of confined space procedures, OSHA found deficiencies in the facility’s program for regulating employee entry into confined spaces. Deficiencies included entry permits that did not address entry procedures, safeguards, and hazards; not locking out hazardous power sources before entry; and no rescue service or retrieval equipment to remove employees during an emergency in a confined space.

In addition to the confined space procedures infractions, other violations at the manufacturing plant included

  • unguarded machinery
  • fall and tripping hazards
  • unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals
  • ungrounded containers used to dispense flammable liquids
  • lack of quick drenching facilities for employees working with caustic chemicals
  • ungrounded electrical equipment
  • damaged power cords and other electrical hazards.

The OSHA inspection also found that the employer failed to develop and implement an electrical safety-related work practices program for employees performing live electrical diagnostic work. The employer also failed to supply personal protective equipment to employees performing live trouble-shooting, or who verified that electrical equipment was properly de-energized. Maintenance personnel at the facility had not been trained regarding safe electrical work practices and personal protective equipment.

Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford, Connecticut stated, “These citations address a cross section of electrical, mechanical, chemical, and other hazards that can exist in a manufacturing environment, but which must be addressed systematically and effectively to protect the safety and health of workers at this plant. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the hazards of electrocution, arc blasts, lacerations, falls, and being trapped or overcome in confined spaces.” OSHA published its requirements and guidelines for confined space procedures in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146.

The proposed fines for the violations total $53,561. U.S. Cosmetics Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational safety and Health Review Commission.