OSHA Fines Long Island Thermometer Maker Nearly $200,000 after Workers Were Sickened by Unsafe Exposures to Toxic Metal
West Babylon Company Cited for 21 Violations; Failed to Protect Workers, Report Illnesses
Federal workplace safety inspectors have cited a Long Island-based thermometer manufacturer on March 6 for overexposing their employees to mercury at its West Babylon facility.
Inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined Kessler Thermometer Corp., located at 40 Gleam Street in West Babylon, overexposed employees to airborne elemental mercury in August 2022 while they worked to distill and purify elemental mercury, fill thermometers, blow glass and during calibration and engraving of thermometers and hydrometers.
Agency inspectors found the company willfully exposed and severely sickened workers by allowing the airborne concentration of the toxic metal to exceed the eight-hour, time-weighted average based on biological exposure indices. OSHA inspectors identified 18 serious violations, one willful violation and two other-than-serious violations by Kessler and proposed $195,988 in penalties.
“Kessler Thermometer Corp. knowingly endangered the lives and health of their employees by ignoring basic safeguards to control hazardous mercury in the workplace and failed to acknowledge its employees were being sickened by mercury exposure,” said Kevin Sullivan, the area director of OSHA’s Westbury office. “This company has been operating for about 20 years and knows the dangers their workers face.”
Specifically, the company failed to provide:
■ Engineering controls to reduce mercury exposure.
■ Complete and effective respiratory protection and chemical hazard communication programs.
■ Appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing.
■ An emergency response plan to handle cleanup of spilled mercury.
■ Eating and food storage areas free of mercury exposure.
■ An emergency shower and appropriate first aid.
■ Proper labeling for all hazardous chemical containers.
■ Recording of all recordable work-related injuries and illnesses.
■ Reporting of a work-related incident resulting in in-patient hospitalization due to mercury poisoning.
A list of the citations can be viewed here.
Kessler Thermometer Corp. operates an 8,000-square-foot laboratory and manufacturing facility in West Babylon. Its current ownership has operated the company since 2002.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.