July 2, 2015
Furniture plant workers repeatedly exposed
to safety and health hazards in Northern New Jersey
OSHA fines 2 employers more than $196K
Employers' names: The investigation was conducted at Sterling Seating Inc.'s furniture manufacturing plant at 9 Porete Avenue in North Arlington, New Jersey. On Target Staffing LLC, a staffing company that provided laborers for Sterling is located at 258 Clifton Avenue in Newark, New Jersey.
Date citations issued and what prompted inspection: On July 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 25 repeat, 15 serious and two other-than-serious safety and health citations to Sterling Seating. On Target Staffing received one repeat and two serious health citations. OSHA initiated an inspection in January after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions at Sterling's plant. Inspectors observed hazards to temporary workers, resulting in a separate inspection of the staffing company.
Investigation findings: Sterling was cited for exposing workers to amputation hazards while operating machinery by not using procedures to prevent inadvertent machine start-up, known as "lockout/tagout." The company was also cited for not training employees about the effects of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, including methylene chloride, combustible dust and formaldehyde. The company also received citations for electrical, exit hazards, and struck-by hazards from boxes stacked unsafely, and for multiple safety violations related to methylene chloride and fire hazards.
On Target Staffing was cited for not having a written hazard communication program or training, or documentation of a hazard assessment.
Quote: "Sterling Seating has repeatedly violated basic safety and health standards and exposed its employees to needless hazards," said Lisa Levy, area director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Host employers and staffing agencies share a responsibility for worker safety. Those that fail to ensure that safety will be held legally responsible."
Proposed penalties: Sterling Seating: $176,330, and On Target Staffing: $19,800
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, losses of an eye, 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 Area Office at 201-288-1700.
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Release Number: 15-1322-NEW (osha 15-053 Sterling Seating)
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