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Region 1 News Release: 11-902-BOS/BOS 2011-231
June 28, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Somerville, Mass.,
commercial laundry for safety hazards following worker injury
ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Royal Institutional Services Inc., a commercial laundry located at 30 Innerbelt Road in Somerville, for four alleged violations of workplace safety standards following a worker injury. OSHA opened its inspection after learning that a mechanic sustained a crushing hand injury on Jan. 26 while lubricating the chain of an ironer machine that was running. The laundry, which is owned by Angelica Corp., faces a total of $49,935 in proposed fines.
OSHA's inspection found that the machine had not first been de-energized and had its power source locked out before maintenance was performed, as required by the agency's hazardous energy control or "lockout/tagout" standard. In addition, employees authorized to perform maintenance were not effectively trained to safely perform such activities, and were not evaluated to ensure that they used and understood adequate energy control procedures.
"It's not enough for an employer to have a hazardous energy control program in place. It must be effective, and authorized employees must be effectively trained so they will understand and safely utilize proper procedures," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "Failure to do so can result in serious injury, such as occurred here."
OSHA cited Royal Institutional Services for one repeat violation with a fine of $35,000 for the lack of energy control procedures; two serious violations with $14,000 in fines for the lack of effective training and evaluation; and one other-than-serious violation with a fine of $935 for a lack of documented lockout procedures for a machine.
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. In this case, the repeat citation stems from the laundry having been cited by OSHA in March 2006 for a similar hazard. 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. 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.
OSHA's lockout/tagout standard is designed to protect workers against the unintended start up of machinery during maintenance and servicing operations. Detailed information on hazardous energy control is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.
Royal Institutional Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Andover Area Office; telephone 978-837-4460. 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.
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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.
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