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State cites Granite Quarry for safety violations, levies $6,500 in fines

By Mark Wineka

mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — A surprise safety inspection, the first in 18 years, has led to the state’s citing the town of Granite Quarry for five “serious” and five “non-serious” violations.

Granite Quarry faces $6,500 in fines because of the findings.

Mayor Bill Feather said Granite Quarry would request, as allowed in the appeals process, an informal conference with the N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division to contest the violations and fines.

Most of the items cited were corrected quickly, Feather said. The biggest fine — $3,500 — related to an exposure control plan in the Fire Department. It is supposed to be reviewed and updated annually, but the state’s safety compliance officer said the last review and update was done in 2013.

Feather said the Fire Department has been keeping the exposure control plan up to date and blamed a documentation error for leading to the $3,500 fine.

“We didn’t have it in writing the proper way,” Feather said.

Some of the violations cited were quite minor, Feather said. One, for example, cited the town for not keeping a safety data sheet on its Mr. Clean multi-purpose cleaner.

A safety compliance officer from Charlotte made the surprise visit to Granite Quarry between March 1-8.

The “serious” violations led to $5,900 in fines; the non-serious, $600.

In addition to the violation related to the exposure control plan, here were the other  “serious” violations cited by the state:

• In the fire department, not having a safety railing on a storage platform. This was corrected during the inspection. The fine was $1,200.

• Maintenance employees using chainsaws did not use face protection. This was corrected during the inspection. The fine was $600.

• A hazard assessment was not performed related to employees using chainsaws. No fine.

• A Delta 6 bench grinder in the maintenance shop had an opening between the work rest and the grinding wheel of a quarter-inch. The maximum opening allowed is one-eighth inch. The fine was $600.

The only “non-serious’ safety violation that carried a fine was the town’s not having a “hazard communication program” written or developed for employees who use a Target 6 herbicide. The fine was $600.

The other four “non-serious” violations:

• Fire Department personnel did not obtain from a physician a written recommendation regarding their ability to use self-contained breathing apparatus respirators.

• A circuit on an outside wall, connected to a power generator, was not labeled.

• A safety data sheet was not maintained for Mr. Clean.

• Hazard communication training was not provided to employees using Target 6 herbicide or Mr. Clean.

A date has yet to be set for the town’s informal conference with the state. The citations were issued March 29.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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