July 10, 2019
New York Company to Correct Hazards, Enhance Safety and
Pay Penalties After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation, Litigation
NEW YORK, NY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Nonwovens Corp. – a home and personal care fabric products manufacturer based in Long Island, New York – will address and correct hazards at their five manufacturing facilities in New York, and pay $200,000 in penalties to resolve safety violations.
In July 2019, OSHA cited the company for repeat and serious violations at the Hauppauge and Brentwood, New York, facilities after an employee suffered a hand amputation in a fabric-softener sheet-cutting machine. Violations included lack of machine guards; and failing to store materials securely, repair damaged storage racks, and train and evaluate forklift operators on safely operating equipment. The agency also cited the company for potential fire and smoke inhalation hazards due to obstructed exit routes, an inoperable exit door, and failing to report an amputation to OSHA.
U.S. Nonwovens Corp. initially contested the citations and penalties but has now reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor in which the company agrees to institute ongoing and effective worker protection measures.
The company agrees to correct the cited hazards, comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, pay $200,000 in penalties and take additional steps to enhance compliance and safety at the five New York facilities. Those steps include:
- Employing a safety and health director to oversee company facilities and establishing a labor-management safety committee to oversee safety and health policies;
- Conducting an assessment of machine guarding and implementing recommended changes;
- Retaining an independent consultant to examine the structural integrity of racks, and distribute policies and procedures for safe storage and stacking;
- Performing and documenting daily emergency exit inspections;
- Performing comprehensive inspections of fuel tanks, charging stations and training certification for all forklift operators, and inspecting the forklift program, at least twice per year; and
- Establishing, maintaining and notifying employees of a toll-free number to report safety concerns and suggestions anonymously. The notification will include notice of employees' rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.
"This agreement commits the company to long-term safety improvements for workers at all of its New York facilities," said OSHA Long Island Area Director Kevin Sullivan. "U.S. Nonwovens Corp. has responded to OSHA's inspection and citations by agreeing to implement corrective measures to better protect the safety and health of all employees."
"As a result of the department's vigorous enforcement efforts, an employer with a history of safety violations has recognized its responsibilities going forward and made robust and enforceable commitments to worker safety across its workplaces," said regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
The agreement covers three company locations in Brentwood, and one each in Commack and Hauppauge, New York.
OSHA's Long Island Area office conducted the original inspection. Trial Attorney Molly Theobald of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor of Labor in New York negotiated and executed the settlement agreement.
Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help 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.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Scalia V. U.S. Nonwovens Corp.
OSHRC Docket Number 19-1200 / BOS 2020-176
Release Number: 20-809-NEW
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