OSHA Investigates After Workers Exposed to Chemical Hazards

May 17, 2023
U.S. Department of Labor cites two employers after workers show elevated levels of inorganic arsenic at Georgia chemical manufacturing facility.

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found that two companies operating at a Conley, Georgia, wood treatment chemical manufacturing facility exposed workers to chemical hazards.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection at Arch Wood Protection Inc. (AWP) after screening tests by the Georgia Poison Center found workers employed by the manufacturer had elevated levels of arsenic. The agency also opened an inspection with AWP’s maintenance contractor for the facility, Mullins Mechanical & Welding LLC (MMW) of Carrollton, Georgia.

The agency cited AWP with nine serious violations for:

  • Exposing workers to inorganic arsenic at up to 20 times above the allowable exposure limit.
  • Allowing hazardous inorganic dust to accumulate on desks, food packaging, lockers, refrigerators and the inner surfaces of workers’ respirators.
  • Not requiring employees using respirators to remove facial hair that might prevent a proper fit and seal.
  • Allowing workers to enter regulated areas without a respirator.
  • Not requiring contractors to change clothing and decontaminate properly at the end of their shifts.
  • Allowing pallets of materials to block emergency eyewash and shower stations.
  • Not providing adequate eye protection for workers handling inorganic arsenic acid samples.

OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $124,780 for AWP.

In addition, MMW received citations for four serious violations for not providing — and making sure employees used — appropriate decontamination procedures and equipment after working in regulated areas. OSHA has proposed $53,574 in penalties.