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Region 3 News Release: III-02-08-20-103-NJ
Date: Tues., Aug. 20, 2002
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102
PATTERSON, NJ -- The absence of protections for employees cleaning and servicing machines was among the safety hazards cited today against Star Futon, Patterson, NJ by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company faces $131,750 in penalties.
Star Futon, which manufactures and wholesales futon mattresses, was inspected by OSHA after an employee suffered the amputation of his left arm while cleaning a machine. OSHA broadened the scope of its investigation from an accident investigation to a comprehensive investigation after observing numerous hazardous conditions at the facility.
According to Lisa Levy, area director of the Hasbrouck Heights OSHA office, the company was issued five willful violations with a penalty of $105,000 and 22 serious violations with a penalty of $26,750.
The willful violations were for the company's failure to establish and maintain a lockout/tagout program that prevents inadvertent machine start-ups and failure to keep exit doors unlocked and clear of obstructions.
The serious violations include the company's failure to illuminate the path to an exit door, failure to maintain machine guards, failure to protect employees from exposure of live electrical parts, failure to train forklift operators, failure to establish a hazard communication program or provide hazard communication training, failure to monitor employees using hazardous chemicals and failure to provide eyewash facilities.
"The willful violations concern the lack of lockout/tagout procedures, which are vital to protecting employees servicing machinery," Levy said. "The blocked exits needed to be corrected immediately. Both conditions must be addressed to prevent future accidents."
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Star Futon has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Hasbrouck Heights Area Office, 500 Route 17 South, 2nd Floor, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604. Phone: (201) 288-1700.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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