09-128-NEW (osha 09-13)
Feb. 9, 2009
Contact: Leni Fortson
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA fines distribution center in Edison, N.J., for workplace safety and health violations
EDISON, N.J. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited O.C.E. Warehouse and Distribution Center in Edison for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, proposing $123,100 in penalties.
OSHA initiated its inspection on July 29, 2008, in response to a referral from the Edison New Jersey Department of Public Safety-Division of Fire alleging the facility's fire exits and aisles were blocked and that unsecured merchandise was being stored on racks. The inspection resulted in citations for two willful violations, with a penalty of $100,000, and 12 serious violations, with a penalty of $23,100. The Edison facility employs 82 people.
"These violations severely limit the company's ability to protect employees in the face of fire or another emergency," said Patricia Jones, area director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office in New Jersey. "By establishing an effective health and safety management system, the center can eliminate the violations and ensure a safe and healthy workplace."
The willful violations include failure to continuously maintain exit routes free of obstructions or impediments and for storing materials in damaged racks. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
Some of the serious violations include the company's failure to properly identify exit doors, supply employees with personal protective equipment, remove defective forklift trucks, provide adequate training, provide adequate evaluations and procedures for industrial forklift operators, and provide proper storage in workspace areas around electrical equipment. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Avenel office; telephone: 732-750-3270.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting almost 39,000 inspections and finding nearly 88,000 violations of its standards and regulations in fiscal year 2008.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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