EL PASO, TX – A federal workplace safety investigation of an El Paso jewelry metal-plating finisher found the company again exposing workers to serious hazards, including willfully failing to protect people working with dangerous acids and other chemicals from potentially permanent eye injuries. 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Arizona Traders Co. for not providing required eyewash stations or showers in areas where employees faced the risks associated with hydrochloric and nitric acids, and ferric chloride. The findings follow an OSHA investigation opened in September 2022.

In all, OSHA issued the company citations for 12 serious violations after inspectors identified the hazardous exposure to harmful chemicals and also found obstructed exits and electrical hazards, and improperly stored acetylene and oxygen cylinders. They also determined Arizona Traders Co. failed to establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with work site specific procedures, did not assess the presence of – or possibility of – other workplace hazards to determine if personal protective equipment was required. OSHA also found the company failed to implement a written hazard communication program.

The agency issued Arizona Traders Co. serious citations in September 2011 and repeat citations in August 2012 for also failing to provide employees a suitable facility for quick drenching of the eyes and body. In September 2012, the company received serious citations for failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment and lacking required hazard communications.

OSHA has proposed $292,693 in penalties.

“Arizona Traders Co. continues to ignore its responsibility to protect employees working with dangerous chemicals from potentially serious injuries, including permanent eye damage and possibly sight loss,” said OSHA Area Director Diego Alvarado in El Paso, Texas. “This company must change the way it operates and make workplace safety a priority before a tragedy occurs. Arizona Traders’ failure to do so is troubling to say the least.”

Incorporated in 1973, Arizona Traders Co. provides gold, silver and nickel plating services at its El Paso facility.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of 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.

Learn more about OSHA and how to protect workers who use hazardous chemicals and toxic substances.

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