US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Precision Custom Coatings LLC
$185,400 for willful and repeat violations
Machine operators suffer hand injuries at fabric manufacturing facility
TOTOWA, N.J. – Following two workplace incidents leaving one machine operator's hand crushed and another with a partial hand amputation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Precision Custom Coatings LLC for one willful, one repeat and 12 serious safety violations, including failure to provide required machine guarding, at the company's fabric manufacturing facility in Totowa.
OSHA's investigation began in September 2013 in response to a referral from the Totowa Police Department after a machine operator's hand was crushed while moving materials through a roller machine. During the investigation, OSHA was contacted about another incident where an employee suffered a partial hand amputation while performing machine maintenance. Proposed penalties total $185,400.
"With the proper machine guarding in place, this company could have prevented these needless, life-altering injuries," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Employers are responsible for eliminating or controlling hazards when the operation of a machine or accidental contact could injure the operator or others. This employer's failure to do so created catastrophic consequences."
The willful violation, with a $70,000 penalty, reflects the company's failure to use danger tags and proper guards on machinery to warn and protect employees from burn hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The repeat violation, with a $38,500 penalty, was due to a lack of machine guarding to protect operators from hazards created by ingoing nip points and rotating parts. The company was cited for the same violation in December 2011. 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.
Carrying a $76,900 penalty, the serious violations include:
- Lack of a midrail on an aerial lift work platform.
- Lack of standard railings on an open-sided platform more than 4 feet above a lower level.
- Liquefied petroleum gas containers not stored properly.
- Lack of danger tags to warn of burn hazards on dry can rollers.
- Inadequate lockout/tagout procedures and training for controlling hazardous energy.
- Lack of training for employees operating powered industrial trucks.
- Powered industrial truck left unattended with elevated forks.
- Lack of guards for rotating shafts and portable grinder.
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 first step toward preventing such hazards is for an employer to develop and implement an illness and injury prevention program where management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PrecisionCustomCoatingLLC_942873_0326_14.pdf*.
Precision Custom Coatings has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director in Hasbrouck Heights, 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 Hasbrouck Heights office at 201-288-1700.
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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