Jan. 27, 2015
Warehouse workers face 'electrical nightmare' and other workplace
dangers, OSHA inspection in Jersey City, New Jersey, reveals
$63K in fines for Xpedited Services for more than a dozen serious violations
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Tangled extension cords, overloaded power outlets in wet locations, blocked exits, faulty forklifts, machines without safety guards and damaged floors-all in a hazardous day at work for employees at Xpedited Services LLC's warehouse in Jersey City, an inspection by U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators found. After the August 14, 2014, inspection, the Jersey City-based trucking company received 14 serious citations with $63,000 in associated fines for permitting dangerous electrocution, fire and other hazardous risks to exist.
"Xpedited Services created an electrical nightmare for its workers, exposing warehouse employees to electrocution hazards and significant fire risk. It was unacceptable that the company failed to comply with long-standing federal electrical safety standards and local building codes," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.
OSHA investigators found that in place of permanent wiring, the company used flexible cords and temporary wiring to power hand-held tools and the warehouse, which created electrocution and fire hazards. Making matters worse, cords were used in wet areas without damage protection and were not inspected regularly. The inspection also found four extension cords plugged into a single, overloaded electrical outlet.
In addition to the electrical and fire hazards, Xpedited Services was cited for lacking mechanical safety devices; allowing exit routes to be blocked in two locations; operating damaged forklifts; improperly storing propane bottles; and having open holes in warehouse floors. Employees also lacked forklift or fire extinguisher training.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Xpedited Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the Parsippany Area Office at 973-263-1003.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Release Number: 15-64-NEW (osha 15-006)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).