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Region 2 News Release: NY 212
November 22, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
EMPLOYEE'S HANDS CRUSHED, AMITYVILLE, NEW YORK, STORE-FIXTURE MANUFACTURER CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; $152,750 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Stein Industries, Inc., 22 Sprague Avenue, Amityville, New York, and proposed penalties of $152,750 against the firm for one alleged willful violation, one alleged failure-to-abate, 29 alleged serious violations, and seven alleged other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards. The company has until December 13 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director Anthony DeSiervi, the action results from an investigation begun by OSHA after being notified by Amityville police of a May 21 accident at the plant, in which both of an employee's hands were crushed in a press brake. The firm, which manufactures concession counters, cabinets, and popcorn machines for movie theaters at the Amityville location, has its corporate address at 500 BiCounty Boulevard in Farmingdale, New York.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's machine-guarding standard by failing to provide point-of-operation guards on a press brake. The willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $70,000.
"Not only did this employer have numerous opportunities to correct the hazard and fail to do so, he also deliberately sought to deceive OSHA by writing us letters in which he asserted the machine in question had been taken out of service," DeSiervi said. "This employer knowingly placed his employees in harm's way, resulting in appalling injuries to this young worker, who has been left with only two working fingers due to the employer's deliberate actions."
OSHA also cited the firm for failing to provide hazard communication training regarding the hazardous substances present in the workplace, an alleged failure-to-abate violation carrying a penalty of $36,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
- failure to have a lockout-tagout program and training to prevent the accidental start-up of machines while they are being serviced or repaired;
- failure to provide personal protective equipment;
- failure to provide properly maintained, unobstructed, unlocked fire exits;
- failure to keep flammable liquids in covered containers when not in use, and to assure that an inside storage room for flammable liquids received a complete change of air at least six times per hour;
- failure to mark electrical circuits, correctly ground circuits and equipment, cover openings in fittings and boxes, and provide strain relief on extension cords;
- failure to have a written hazard communication program, to properly label containers of hazardous chemicals as to their contents, and provide an appropriate hazard warning on each container;
- failure to reduce below 30 p.s.i. the pressure of compressed air nozzles used for cleaning;
- failure to properly guard electrical saws, mechanical power presses, wood shapers, rotating parts on machines;
- failure to have a program of regular, periodic inspections of power presses;
- failure to train employees in the use of fire extinguishers.
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $46,750.
Alleged other-than-serious violations included failure to maintain required logs of employee injuries and illnesses, keep the workplace clean and orderly, provide proper insulation on electrical connections, and properly mark exit signs.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A failure to abate is a notice of additional penalty issued against an employer who has failed to correct a violation which has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Long Island area office, located at 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 208, Westbury, New York, telephone (516) 334-3344.
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