Keymark cited for working conditions

FONDA – Keymark is facing $53,000 in fines after federal inspectors say employees were exposed to dangerous working conditions and a known cancer-causing chemical.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Keymark employees were exposed to the hazardous substance chromium, a carcinogen, high noise levels and falls of up to 17 feet.

OSHA says the company failed to provide and ensure proper safeguards.

The OSHA inspection occurred in March by the Albany office following a complaint, an OSHA news release said.

According to its website, Keymark has been open in Fonda since 1965. The company specializes in aluminum extrusions for industrial use. Keymark is under the umbrella of Kasson and Keller, which has been operating in the area since 1946.

OSHA said Keymark failed to determine employees’ exposure levels to chromium and ensure that surfaces were free from chromium accumulation. Additional issues include failure to ensure clean changing areas for employees working with chromium and that chromium-contaminated clothing was stored and transported in sealed containers.

A major source of worker exposure to chromium occurs during “hot work” such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal, OSHA says.

OSHA said employees were exposed to 17-foot falls into a work pit that lacked a guard rail. The agency said employees also were in danger of being caught in or injured by unintended machinery start-up. Procedures and training for turning off machine power sources before maintenance and servicing were lacking, according to OSHA.

“These employees faced both short- and long-term risks to their health and well-being, ranging from potentially fatal falls and hearing loss to cumulative damage to the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes from chromium exposure,” Kimberly Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany, said in the news release. “Keymark must take prompt and effective action to ensure that these conditions are corrected and do not pose future risk to employees.”

OSHA said it cited Keymark for 11 serious violations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard.

OSHA states the company had 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The date of the citations was unavailable from OSHA this morning.

Keymark has operations on Cayadutta Street in the village and in Lakeland Fla.

According to its website, Kasson and Keller employs more than 700 people, including tradesmen, engineering staff, sales representatives, management and office personnel and through a trucking operation, F&F Transport.

Company President William Keller III could not be reached for comment this morning.

The Montgomery County Business Development Center said Kasson and Keller reported 263 employees as of 2013 in Montgomery County.