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Workers Overexposed to Mercury at U.S. Thermometer Maker

OSHA found multiple areas in the facility contaminated with mercury.

OSHA yesterday fined Kessler Thermometer for overexposing employees to airborne elemental mercury.

In August 2022, workers became sick after the West Babylon, NY-based company allowed the airborne concentration of toxic metal to exceed safe levels. 

At the time, employees were distilling and purifying elemental mercury, filling thermometers, blowing glass and calibrating and engraving thermometers and hydrometers.

Inspectors hit Kessler with $195,988 in proposed fines after finding 18 serious violations, one willful violation and two other-than-serious violations.

OSHA says the company failed to provide engineering controls, like a fume hood, to reduce exposure while working with mercury in the open. 

OSHA also found detectable levels of mercury in eating areas and multiple areas in the facility contaminated with mercury, like tables, desks and storage areas. 

In addition, the company neglected to offer appropriate PPE and training as well as appropriate first aid, including an emergency shower. 

OSHA Area Director Kevin Sullivan said Kessler knowingly endangered employees by ignoring basic safeguards and “failed to acknowledge its employees were being sickened by mercury exposure.”

The company has an 8,000-square-foot lab and manufacturing facility in New York. The current owners have operated the company since 2002.

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