Region 3 News Release: 11-1540-PHI (osha 11-148)
Nov. 3, 2011
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $62,000 in fines to Elm
Grove, W.Va., company for exposing workers to safety and health hazards
ELM GROVE, W.Va. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Elm Grove-based Uwanta Linen Supply Inc. for 21 safety and health violations that exposed workers to a variety of hazards. Proposed penalties total $62,400.
Eighteen serious safety and health violations, with penalties of $61,200, include failing to evaluate the facility to determine if any areas were permit-required confined spaces; properly guard floor holes; develop written energy control procedures for machines with multiple energy sources; mount portable fire extinguishers, perform annual maintenance checks on them and train employees on their use; examine forklifts before placing them in service; conduct an exposure determination for workers with exposure to bloodborne pathogens; provide fall protection for employees working on an elevated platform using forklifts; provide personal protective equipment; provide a suitable facility for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and/or body for workers exposed to injurious corrosive materials; provide a hand-washing facility readily accessible to employees; provide appropriate safety and machine guarding; provide hepatitis B vaccines to employees potentially exposed to bloodborne pathogens; ensure that all work areas were clean and in an orderly and sanitary condition; ensure that an emergency exit door was unlocked and unimpeded; ensure that electrical equipment was free from recognized hazards; keep the area around a circuit breaker panel free from materials; attach grounded conductors to terminals or leads so as to reverse polarity; effectively close knockouts; properly illuminate work areas for employees; properly illuminate each exit sign; establish a written exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens; and institute an effective hearing conservation program. 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.
Three other-than-serious safety and health violations, with penalties of $1,200, were cited for failing to properly record work-related injuries and illnesses on OSHA's 300A log for 2008 and 2010 and failing to train employees on the hazardous chemicals in their work areas. 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.
"By disregarding OSHA's standards, this company is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that could cause serious injury or even death," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "It is imperative that Uwanta Linen Supply address the cited violations immediately."
Uwanta Linen Supply, a commercial laundry that employs about 16 workers at its Elm Grove location, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Charleston office at 304-347-5937.
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.