Sept. 30, 2015
Laundry company continues to jeopardize employee safety
after worker death at New York facility in 2011
More than $305K in proposed fines for Prestige Industries' Paterson, New Jersey, location
PATERSON, N.J. - One of the region's largest commercial laundry companies continues to expose its employees to the same workplace hazards that contributed to the 2011 death of a 24-year-old worker at a Prestige Industries LLC facility in Bay Shore, New York.
After receiving a complaint, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection of the company's Paterson facility on March 27, 2015. The agency determined that employees faced hazards similar to those at the Bay Shore facility, including the absence of lockout/tagout procedures, which prevent the accidental start-up or movement of machinery. OSHA cited the company for one willful, three repeated and five serious safety and health violations. Proposed fines total $305,300.
"It is unacceptable when a company continues to neglect basic safety and health procedures, especially after experiencing a fatality. Prestige Industries' deliberate failure to uphold its responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace is an indication that worker safety and health is not a priority, which is intolerable," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Without an effective, comprehensive injury and illness prevention program that evaluates, identifies and eliminates hazards proactively, Prestige's employees will remain at risk of injury or death."
OSHA cited Prestige Industries with a willful violation for lack of lockout/tagout procedures. The agency also cited the company for repeated violations for failure to train employees on the purpose and function of an energy control program, provide machine guarding and affix lockout/tagout devices on machinery. Unsafe exit routes*, electrical hazards and no established respiratory protection program were among the serious violations.
To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PrestigeIndustriesLLC_1049617.pdf*.
With headquarters in Lyndhurst, Prestige Industries cleans laundry for different industries at two New Jersey facilities and one in Long Island, New York. The Paterson location launders fabrics for the hotel industry.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 amputations, eye loss, 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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Release Number: 15-1882-NEW (osha 15-085)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.