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Local business settles OSHA case

FORT EDWARD — A. Hyatt Ball Co. has reached a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over 48 serious violations of federal workplace safety laws.

The citations were issued in April, after an employee’s complaint resulted in an OSHA inspection of the company’s 1 School St. manufacturing facility.

At last report, Hyatt Ball employed about seven people. The company makes “phenolic balls,” which are used in the fracking process for extracting oil and gas from shale rock formations.

Under the terms of the settlement reached last month, Hyatt Ball will pay fines of $60,000. The company also agreed to correct the safety lapses found during the OSHA inspection.

The settlement agreement must still be approved by an administrative law judge, according to U.S. Department of Labor spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

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The safety lapses included potential explosion hazards, and the company failed to observe a host of safety rules related to lockout/tagout maintenance protocols, fire alarms, fire suppression systems and unobstructed exit routes, among other issues.

Hyatt Ball CEO Robert Simpson did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

The company originally faced fines of up to $105,200 for the original list of citations that resulted from the inspection. However, that list was pared down after the company and OSHA failed to reach a settlement during a meeting in April.

A total of 15 citations were withdrawn, and others were combined as part of the settlement agreement.

“The goal of this settlement is enhanced worker safety and health at this workplace,” Fitzgerald said. “The company agrees to corrective action, ongoing compliance as well as additional voluntary actions.”

Hyatt Ball agreed, as part of the settlement, to participate in the New York State Department of Labor’s on-site safety and health consultation program going forward.

This article was written by Scott Donnelly from The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.