A Mitchell bull stud facility at which an employee died last year was cited last week for exposing workers to harmful chemicals.
Custom Genetic Solutions LLC faces a penalty of $122,602 for what the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified as two willful and three serious violations.
On Nov. 20, 20-year-old Custom Genetic Solutions employee Molly Schladweiler died at the Mitchell facility. OSHA reported May 20 that use of liquid nitrogen in the facility caused Schladweiler to asphyxiate from a lack of oxygen, and the company reported Schladweiler's death to OSHA.
An inspection of Custom Genetic Solutions reportedly found that employees used liquid nitrogen to fill containers daily and cryogenic freezers weekly. OSHA reported the company had failed to implement measures to make sure the liquid nitrogen didn't displace oxygen in the room. OSHA also found Custom Genetic Solutions failed to properly train its employees on the risks of working with the material or how to detect levels of the gas in a room.
Custom Genetic Solutions was cited on May 13. The company has 15 days from its receipt of the citation to pay the $122,602 penalty, request to contest findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or request an informal conference with OSHA's area director.
Five areas were listed in the citation as contributing to the total penalty fee. Custom Genetic Solutions was told to pay two fees of $53,975 for not giving its employees sufficient health and safety training on chemicals used in the facility and for not providing a workspace equipped with adequate ventilation or oxygen-monitoring systems that would protect employees from an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.
Two payments of $5,398 were also ordered due to Custom Genetic Solutions reportedly not developing and implementing a written hazard communication system or properly labeling chemical storage containers. A $3,856 fee was also charged for findings that Custom Genetic Solutions didn't maintain and make readily available to employees copies of required safety data sheets containing information about hazardous chemicals, including liquid nitrogen.
The citation states that all violations occurred on and before the date of Schladweiler's death. To be in compliance with the citation, the company must show proof by June 9 that it has formed and implemented policies correcting the issues named in the citation.
Representatives of Custom Genetic Solutions were unavailable for comment on Tuesday afternoon.