February 15, 2001

The U.S. Department of Labor has cited Falcon Plastics, Washington, Pa. for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, proposing $161,000 in penalties. Falcon Plastics is a plastics products manufacturer employing 220 people.

OSHA initiated an inspection on Aug. 17, 2000 in response to a complaint filed after an employee suffered amputation of several fingers. This was the second accident involving amputation suffered by a Falcon employee within a five-month period.

According to Robert Szymanski, area director of the OSHA Pittsburgh office, the company was issued two willful violations, carrying a penalty of $112,000; 15 serious violations, carrying a penalty of $49,000; and seven other-than-serious violations, which carry no penalty.

"These two unfortunate incidents occurred because Falcon Plastics allowed its employees to work on unguarded machinery, without use of the hand tools" says Szymanski, "Proper guarding must be employed immediately to prevent future tragedies from occurring."

The willful violations were issued because of the company's failure to guard machinery and failure to provide special hand tools designed to protect machine operators from inadvertently making contact with the machine.

Serious violations included:

  • lack of personal protective equipment
  • lack of machine guarding
  • exposed electrical parts
  • improper use of powered industrial trucks
  • deficient Lock Out/Tag Out program?prevents inadvertent machine start-up
  • improper storage of compressed gas cylinders

Other-than-serious violations were due to the company's deficient recordkeeping, poor housekeeping and failure to provide hazard communication training.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.

A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission


OSHA has cited Charles Beseler Co., of Linden, New Jersey and proposed penalties totaling $78,000 against the firm., alleging thirty-four serious and five other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until February 27 to contest the citations.

According to Robert D. Kulick, OSHA area director, the citations resulted from a safety and a health inspection conducted from August 18, 2000, through January 26, 2001, following an employee complaint.

Following the two inspections, OSHA cited the company for a total of thirty-four alleged serious violations, including:

  • failure to provide adequate fall protection during lifting operations when using fork lifts; and failure to provide forklift training and training certification to employees.
  • failure to maintain fire alarm systems.
  • failure to properly identify and arrange emergency exits.
  • failure to properly store and clean up combustible liquids and waste products.
  • failure to ensuring that employees used proper eye and face protection.
  • failure to implement a lockout/tagout program to prevent unexpected start-up of machinery and equipment.
  • failure to provide employees with fire extinguisher training.
  • failure to provide hazard communication training to employees.
  • failure to properly guard machinery.
  • failure to properly store oxygen and fuel-gas cylinders.
  • failure to properly maintain, label and guard electrical equipment.

The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $76,400.

The employer was also cited for alleged other than serious violations, including:

  • failure to maintain safety eyewash in sanitary operating condition.
  • failure to have a respirator program.
  • failure to monitor employees for lead exposure.
  • failure to train employees about the hazards of working with lead.

The alleged other-than-serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $1,600.

An other than serious violation is one in which the hazard would not result in death or serious physical harm.


OSHA has cited Alaco Sales, Inc., for 12 serious health violations and proposed penalties totaling $27,000 for over-exposing employees to high levels of methylene chloride at the company's Russellville plant.

According to Terry Bailey, OSHA's Birmingham assistant area director, the investigation began Nov. 16, following a complaint filed with the agency about a process at the facility which uses an adhesive containing 60 percent methylene chloride. The agency found that six employees --- who wore no respiratory or eye protection --- were exposed to as much as 14 times the permissible exposure level during a spraying operation to attach a layer of batting to foam cushions.

In addition to violations of the permissible exposure levels, the company was cited for failure to:

  • provide employee training on the proper use of a hazardous chemical;
  • perform a workplace assessment to determine employee exposure levels;
  • reduce exposure levels by adequate engineering controls and/or safe work practices;
  • have procedures in place to detect leaks or spills;
  • have an emergency action plan;
  • properly dispose of waste materials contaminated by methylene chloride.

"Depending on the length and level of exposure to the chemical vapors, employees may experience only minor reactions, or more serious, even fatal effects," Bailey said. "Some medical studies suggest a possible relationship between methylene chloride exposure and an increased risk of certain cancers."

Methylene chloride is a mild narcotic. Chronic, long-term inhalation exposure affects the central nervous system, causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, and memory lost. Exposure to the chemical may also cause elevated carbon monoxide levels in the blood, particularly for workers who smoke, are anemic, or have heart disease.

The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


An initial draft of the newly unified fire prevention code, NFPA 1-Uniform Fire Code, developed by NFPA and the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA), has been released for public review and comment. The document, the product of two ad hoc committees representing both groups, will progress through the customary NFPA open-consensus process, including public review, comments and deliberations by the Technical Committee.

The new code incorporates current technical provisions from the 2000 Edition of the Uniform Fire Code and the 2000 Edition of NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code(TM). In all, ten fire code enforcement officials were charged with developing the draft, volunteering hundreds of hours to complete their work within a nine month period.

The group was divided into two working sectionsùone addressing hazardous materials, chaired by Ron Keefer of the Menlo Park, Calif. Fire District, and the other addressing the remainder of fire code issues, chaired by Ken Bush of the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

When issued as a final document, NFPA 1-Uniform Fire Code is expected to be the most comprehensive fire code available as it consists of requirements from the two most widely adopted fire codes in the nation.

"We are delighted that this collaboration between NFPA and the Western Fire Chiefs continues to advance our fire and life safety mission globally," says Arthur E. Cote, NFPA senior vice president, Operations, and chief engineer. "This alliance provides assurance that the highest levels of fire prevention and protection to the public will be incorporated into this new code."

"We've taken the two most popular fire codes and combined them into what is destined to be the most widely used code," says Chief David Penicook, president of the WFCA. "It will certainly be a user-friendly document, too."

The first edition of the combined code is currently in the NFPA Fall 2002 cycle with a proposal closing date of June 8, 2001. A final document will be issued by the Standards Council in January 2003. The complete development cycle is available from at http://www.nfpa.org. The document draft is available for downloading, and individuals can review and submit proposals online. For printed copies or CD-ROM versions, please call NFPA's Standards Administration at 617-984-7249.

NFPA's codes- and standards- making system is a completely open, consensus-based process, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More than 6,500 volunteers serve on 225 technical committees that develop NFPA's codes and standards. Committees are structured to represent a balance of all affected interests and the process is open to the public for review and comment.

WFCA, established in 1891, is the publisher of and has developed the Uniform Fire Code since 1970.

download a copy of the draft document