HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- A New Jersey company's failure to train employees on the safe operation of forklifts contributed to serious injuries suffered by an employee and prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration today to cite the firm. The company is facing a fine of $101,250.
Cosmetic Essence, Inc., of Ridgefield, N.J., was cited for 17 alleged safety and health violations, centering on the company's failure to train employees on forklift operations. A worker sustained severe lacerations and chemical exposure after falling from a forklift into a 2,000-gallon chemical mixing kettle last February. He was being lifted on a pallet by the forklift at the time of the accident.
This worker would not have had to suffer such a serious injury had the employer followed the proper training procedures for forklift operations, said Lisa Levy, OSHA's area director in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. "OSHA's training standard for forklifts and other powered industrial trucks was revised to help reduce accidents like this. Cosmetic Essence, Inc. must be held accountable for this accident.
OSHA's investigation resulted in the company being issued an alleged willful violation with a proposed penalty of $63,000 for failure to train workers in the proper operation of forklifts. Sixteen citations for alleged serious violations were also issued for failing to determine whether employees were capable of driving forklifts, not providing safety platforms for workers being lifted by forklifts, and neglecting to properly guard open-sided platforms. The serious violations were accompanied by a $38,250 proposed penalty.
In 1998, it was estimated that approximately 100 workers are killed and almost 95,000 are injured each year in industrial truck accidents. OSHA's revised training standards for industrial trucks was effective in March 1999.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations. Serious violations are those in which a condition exists where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm can result.
Cosmetic Essence, Inc. has 15 working days to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.