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Environmental lab faces $907k in fines related to carcinogen

Posted On: Sep. 19, 2022 9:43 AM CST


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday announced it has cited Manchester, Connecticut-based Phoenix Environmental Laboratories Inc. for allegedly exposing employees to a carcinogen.

OSHA cited the lab for six willful violations, 10 serious violations and one other than serious violation and proposed a total of $907,253 in penalties. The company has 15 days to contest the citations.

For several months, employees at the laboratory complained to management about faulty ventilation systems and about symptoms – including dizziness, light-headedness, headaches and unsteady walking – all of which can be caused by exposure to methylene chloride, a highly hazardous chemical and a workplace carcinogen, according to an OSHA statement.

An investigation found that due to inadequate ventilation and recurring leaks from equipment in work areas, plus the use of methylene chloride in analyzing environmental samples, employees sustained exposure to the chemical, in some cases above the permissible exposure limit, OSHA said.

“Despite knowledge of these employee complaints that addressed health hazard concerns,” management “took few effective measures to monitor and address the exposures and provide effective safeguards for its employees,” the agency said.