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Workplace safety case lingers

FORT EDWARD – The workplace safety violations case against Hyatt Ball Co. has advanced to the U.S. Department of Labor’s regional Office of the Solicitor.

The move comes after the company and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration failed to reach an agreement about how to settle the issue of 48 serious violations of federal workplace safety laws discovered during an inspection of the company’s 1 School St. facility.

That inspection was prompted by a worker’s complaint about work conditions.

Hyatt Ball Co., which makes “phenolic balls” used in the fracking process for extracting oil and gas from shale rock formations, was served in April with a citation for the violations, which carry a potential fine of $105,200.

The company and OSHA failed to reach a settlement during discussions in recent weeks, according to U.S. Labor Department spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Now, the case will be put before the OSHA Review Commission and assigned to an administrative law judge, Fitzgerald said.

That often results in another round of settlement negotiations, he said. Failing that, there would be a hearing before the administrative law judge assigned to the case.

Fitzgerald said there is no time frame set for the process going forward, and the company is allowed to continue operations during the legal process.

Hyatt Ball CEO Robert Simpson did not return a call for comment Tuesday, but Fitzgerald said the company has told OSHA it is already taking corrective measures regarding the workplace safety violations.

OSHA’s inspection found problems that could lead to explosions, 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, OSHA said.

In related news, Official: Wyoming needs more workplace inspections.

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

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