US Labor Department's OSHA cites Allentown, Pa., soft drink company
for exposing workers to safety and health hazards
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited A-Treat Bottling Co. for 24 safety and health violations at its Allentown facility. OSHA initiated a Jan. 21 inspection under a local emphasis program focused on follow-up inspections and noise hazards. Proposed fines total $110,880.
"The hazards found at this facility risk the safety and health of workers and must be corrected immediately," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Allentown Area Office.
Six repeat violations with penalties of $43,120 reflect the company's failure to maintain required records, conduct a baseline audiogram for an employee overexposed to noise hazards, conduct annual hearing conservation training for employees overexposed to noise hazards, conduct adequate forklift operations and ensure equipment had proper machine guards in place to protect employees. 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. The company was cited for the same violations in 2008 and 2010 at the Allentown facility.
Seventeen serious violations with penalties of $67,760 involve the company's failure to develop and utilize documented energy control procedures; provide training to employees utilizing energy control procedures; provide a proper eye wash for employees working with citric acid; provide machine guards on equipment; maintain copies of material safety data sheets for all chemicals; maintain clear and unobstructed exit routes; maintain exit doors and illuminated exit signs in proper working order; educate employees in fire extinguisher use; maintain forklifts in safe operating condition; provide a seatbelt for a forklift; protect employees from electrical hazards; and implement controls to reduce employee exposure to occupational noise. 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.
One other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to ensure electrical equipment was guarded to prevent employee contact. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
A-Treat Bottling Co. is a soft drink beverage manufacturer and bottler that employs about 50 workers at its Allentown site. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Allentown office; telephone 267-429-7542. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.