Tues., Dec. 11, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A Watertown, N.Y., industrial laundry has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety and health standards, and for failing to correct hazards cited during previous OSHA inspections. Atlas Health Care Linen Services LLC, 135 Union St., faces a total of $163,200 in proposed fines.
In November 2006, OSHA cited the plant, then known as Northern Health Care Linen Services, for a variety of safety and health hazards. The company agreed to correct all hazards and pay a fine of $39,980. The latest citations and fines result from follow-up inspections begun June 8, 2007, to verify correction of the earlier cited hazards.
"Several conditions that were cited during the 2006 inspections occurred again or were not corrected in the first place," said Christopher R. Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "It is critical to the health and safety of employees at this facility that all items be addressed and abated promptly, effectively and permanently."
Three failure-to-abate notices, carrying $112,500 in fines, were issued to the company for its failure to supply the Hepatitis B vaccine to employees within 10 days of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, develop and maintain a log of injuries, and guard a spoke pulley against employee contact. A failure-to-abate notice is issued when an employer has agreed to correct specific hazards cited during an OSHA inspection and then does not do so.
Three repeat citations, accounting for $37,700 in fines, were issued for an unguarded rooftop work area, inadequate guarding of folder machines and the use of a flexible electric cord in place of permanent wiring. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. In this case, the company had been cited for substantially similar hazards in the 2006 inspections.
Four serious citations, with $13,000 in proposed fines, were issued for an unguarded floor hole, failing to clean contaminated surfaces and a soiled linen conveyor, lack of hazard communication training for employees, and incomplete lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery from functioning while employees performed maintenance. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Atlas has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office (telephone 315-451-0808).
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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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