MAPLEWOOD, N.J. -- Maplewood Beverage Packers LLC and temporary employment agency Corporate Resource Services Corp. in Elizabeth have been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for health and safety violations found at the beverage bottling company's Maplewood plant. OSHA's December 2013 investigation, which found willful and repeat violations, was initiated following a referral from the Maplewood Fire Department after a temporary worker was injured after falling from a ladder. OSHA has proposed $182,270 in penalties.
'Host employers and staffing agencies are jointly responsible for ensuring worker safety and health,' said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. 'Employers must protect all workers from job hazards-both permanent and temporary workers.'
OSHA cited Maplewood Beverage with one willful, one repeat, 17 serious and two other safety and health violations. The willful health violation was for not providing employees with annual audiograms. This violation carries a $54,450 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The repeat safety violation, with a $13,860 penalty, was cited for the company's failure to provide proper machine guarding. A repeat violation is issued 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.
Carrying $101,970 in penalties, the serious safety and health violations included excessive noise; slip, trip and fall hazards; and the beverage bottling company's failure to do the following:
- Develop and implement an emergency response plan for employees required to respond to spills of hazardous substances.
- Ensure exit routes were adequate.
- Utilize lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts while cleaning a labeling machine.
- Implement a hazard communication program and train workers who handle hazardous substances.
- Remove powered industrial trucks in need of repair from service.
- Provide machine guarding
- Label spray bottles containing hazardous chemicals.
- Provide employees with baseline audiograms and train all employees exposed to excessive noise.
A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two other violations were cited for failure to train employees who work in the area where lockout/tagout is performed on the purpose and use of energy control procedures. The employer also failed to notify employees upon first entering employment and annually thereafter about noise exposure records, the person responsible for maintaining and providing access to noise exposure records, and their rights to access medical and/or exposure records. An other-than-serious violation carried a $990 penalty.
Corporate Resources Services employed the temporary workers and supplied labor to Maplewood Beverage. OSHA cited the temporary employment agency for two serious health and safety violations for failure to conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace, ensure that each employee was informed of the effects of noise on hearing and inform each employee about hearing protectors. The serious violations carry an $11,000 penalty.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows fatal work injuries involving contractor worker fatalities, including temporary help service workers, accounted for 708, or 16 percent, of the 4,383 fatal work injuries in 2012. Additional details are available at http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The citations can be viewed at:
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 Parsippany Area Office at (973) 263-1003.
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.