Thermometer maker cited for exposing workers to unsafe mercury levels
A New York thermometer manufacturer is facing $195,988 in proposed penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over claims it overexposed its workers to mercury at its facility.
OSHA on Monday announced citations against West Babylon, New York-based Kessler Thermometer Corp. for willfully exposing and sickening employees by allowing airborne concentrations of mercury to exceed an eight-hour, time-weighted average based on biological exposure indices.
The citations were issued for 18 serious violations, one willful violation and two other-than-serious violations.
The company has 15 days to contest the citations and penalties.
Inspectors said the mercury exposures were discovered in August 2022, at which time employees were working to distill and purify elemental mercury, fill thermometers, blow glass during calibration and engrave thermometers and hydrometers.
The company is also accused of failing to provide workers with proper respiratory protection and chemical hazard communication programs, failing to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment, failing to implement an emergency response plan to handle the cleanup of spilled mercury, failing to have an emergency shower and appropriate first aid and other alleged workplace safety failures.