Queens, NY, metal products manufacturer faces $108,900 in fines from US
Labor Department's OSHA for recurring and new health hazards
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Juniper Elbow Co. Inc., doing business as Juniper Industries, for alleged repeat and serious violations of occupational health standards at its Middle Village manufacturing facility in Queens, N.Y. The manufacturer of metal products faces a total of $108,900 in proposed fines following a September 2012 complaint inspection.
"Our inspection uncovered recurring hazards, from exposure to high noise levels and hazardous chemicals to lack of proper protective equipment, training and information that would help workers to protect themselves," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. "It's imperative that this employer take effective and ongoing action to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from occurring again."
The repeat violations, with fines of $74,250, include failing to train, fit-test and provide medical fitness evaluations for workers who wear respirators, provide hazard communication training and certify that a hazard assessment had been conducted to determine what personal protective equipment was needed to perform the work safely. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in April 2011.
The seven serious violations, with fines of $34,650, were cited for failing to conduct initial noise monitoring and administer a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to high noise levels; provide employees with eye and hand protection when working with chemicals; determine hexavalent chromium exposure levels; provide protective clothing and information to workers exposed to hexavalent chromium; train forklift operators; and provide fire-resistant shields during welding operations.
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.
"A key way employers can prevent conditions that can injure or sicken workers is to establish and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator for New York.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/juniperelbowcitations.pdf*. Juniper has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a meeting 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 agency's Queens District Office at 718-279-9060.
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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.