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Region 5 News Release: 14-1366-CHI
Aug. 6, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6876

OSHA fines AFAM Concept $59,700 for repeat and serious violations at
Chicago hair products manufacturing facility

CHICAGO – AFAM Concept Inc., a Chicago-based hair products manufacturer, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one repeat, 12 serious and two other- than-serious safety and health violations following a complaint inspection. OSHA has proposed penalties of $59,700 for exposing workers to dangerous machinery that can cause amputation, fall and respiratory hazards.

"AFAM Concept must develop safety procedures for dangerous and known hazards," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "OSHA takes unsafe conditions seriously and wants to protect workers and hold employers accountable for safety."

The April 29, 2014, inspection found AFAM failed to develop procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing and maintenance, potentially causing lacerations, amputations and death. The company was cited for a similar violation in June 2012 at the same facility. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Serious violations at the facility included failing to ensure lockout devices were used on live machinery and failure to provide machinery workers with safety procedures. Additionally, chains and sprockets on machinery were not completely guarded to prevent workers from touching moving machine parts.

Other serious violations found at the AFAM facility included failure to require the use of fall protection equipment and to install railings on a platform that exposed workers to fall hazards of up to 10 feet. The company lacked a respiratory protection program; did not provide personal protective equipment when employees worked with corrosives; failed to monitor employees for exposure to formaldehyde; and did not provide training on hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. A confined space entry control program was not implemented to protect workers who entered spaces where they potentially could be exposed to dangerous conditions.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Additionally, two other-than-serious violations cite AFAM for failing to maintain injury and illness logs and to inspect powered industrial vehicles.

AFAM manufactures, distributes and markets beauty and personal care products, such as relaxers, shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products worldwide. The company operates as a subsidiary of JF Labs Inc., which manufactures hair care products for retail customers in the United States. Both companies are based in Chicago.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Calumet City Area Office at (708) 891-3800.

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

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