USA - Solvay foundry to pay $276K for health, safety violations

Solvay, N.Y. -- A Syracuse-area iron foundry has agreed to pay $276,189 in fines and correct 60 safety and health hazards found by federal inspectors two years ago.

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Frazer & Jones Co. agreed to the fines and corrective measures as part of a settlement reached in July with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The settlement became effective Oct. 14.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company on Nov. 13, 2019, for dozens of health and safety violations that inspectors from its Syracuse office found at the foundry on Milton Avenue in Solvay. OSHA originally proposed $460,316 in penalties.

OSHA said its inspectors found violations that included:

  • Exposing employees to crystalline silica, silica dust and combustible dust
  • Inadequate respiratory protection
  • Fall, struck-by and caught-between hazards
  • Unsafe work floors and walking surfaces
  • Deficient confined space safeguards
  • Inaccessible or unavailable fire extinguishers
  • A blocked exit route
  • Lack of an effective pest removal program
  • Failure to prevent the buildup of bird feces on equipment

The cast iron manufacturer contested the citations and fine in an appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Nov. 21, 2019.

In addition to correcting the cited hazards, the company agreed as part of the settlement to take “enhanced” measures to improve safety at the plant, according to the commission. The measures include:

  • Semiannual inspections of the facility by a safety consultant
  • Addressing the consultant’s recommendations for action, and sharing them with the facility’s labor-management safety committee and the corporate parent’s board of directors
  • Implementing systems to receive and respond to employee complaints
  • A ventilation consultant will evaluate the facility’s dust control system for overhaul.

“The hazards our inspectors found at Frazer & Jones Co. Inc. exposed workers to potential injuries and long-term health effects,” OSHA Syracuse Area Director Jeffrey Prebish said in a statement. “This settlement requires correction of those hazards and it commits the employer to implement ongoing measures to prevent these conditions from recurring.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Frazer & Jones makes underground roof expansion anchors and components for the mining industry and also supplies products to the automotive, natural gas, electrical, utility, rail, construction, and tool industries. It employs 150 people at its 210,000-square-foot foundry, which produces 90 million castings yearly, according to the company’s website.

Frazer & Jones is one of the Syracuse area’s oldest manufacturers. The company was established in 1845 as Frazer & Benedict Co. and became Frazer & Jones in 1882. It was acquired by its current parent, The Eastern Co., in 1945.

By Rick Moriarty |