A Bayonne business still recovering from damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy has been cited with four repeat and four serious safety and health violations, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday.
Among the violations at Henry Repeating Arms, one of the country’s leading rifle manufacturers, was workers exposed to lead hazards, OSHA officials said in announcing $72,000 in penalties. OSHA said an inspection was performed in September.
The repeat violations, which carry a $46,800 penalty, include failing to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program for lead exposure; failing to evaluate, conduct tests and provide training for “half mask negative pressure respirators,” which protect against lead; and failing to ensure surfaces were maintained as free as practicable from lead accumulation.
OSHA considers these “repeat” violations because it says Henry Repeating Arms, on East First Street, was cited for similar violations in 2008.
Among the “serious” violations, with a $25,200 penalty, OSHA says Henry Repeating Arms failed to implement a hearing conservation program and training program and provide annual audiograms for workers exposed to noise above 85 and 90 decibels, and failed to make medical surveillance available upon a worker’s notification of signs and symptoms of lead intoxication.
OSHA officials said a serious citation is issued when there is “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard” that the employer knew or should have known about.
“Exposure to lead and noise in the firearms manufacturing industry has been well-known for decades” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s area office in Parsippany. “OSHA’s standards must be followed to protect workers from exposure that can lead to lead-related illness and occupational hearing loss.”
Henry Repeating Arms president and owner Anthony Imperato said his company is taking corrective action.
“We are investing in a new state-of-the-art test-fire facility that will cost us approximately $500,000, which will alleviate this issue along with other internal measures,” Imperato said. “We have also retained the services of an OSHA consultant to keep us compliant.”
Henry Repeating Arms has three weeks from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before an independent panel.