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NJ: $124K in OSHA Electrical Safety Fines

July 10, 2012 1 comment

Norwood, NJ:  The employees of a cleaning-products company face “serious” hazards, OSHA says.

Earth Friendly Products, which makes plant-based cleaning products, faces a $124,000 fine for 23 alleged safety and health violations at its Norwood facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Thursday.

In response to a complaint, OSHA inspected the operation from Dec. 28 to May 31 and found workers were exposed to hazards like insufficient machine guarding, flammable liquids and deficient personal protective equipment(PPE), among other violations, the federal agency said.

“The large number and extensive range of safety and health hazards found at this establishment are of great concern to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” Lisa Levy, OSHA’s area director in Hasbrouck Heights, said in a statement. “This employer needs to address the hazards to prevent injuries from occurring at its facility.”

The company, based in Addison, Ill., makes “environmentally friendly” cleaning products. It employs 38 people at 380 Chestnut St. in Norwood.

The alleged “serious” violations at the Norwood plant include safety hazards related to confined-space entry, which means having workers in an enclosed area not meant for human occupancy, with limited access and only one way in or out, according to OSHA.

Other alleged violations include: deficient “lockout/tagout” procedures to prevent machinery from accidentally starting up; failing to train powered industrial truck operators and make sure that truck modifications are performed with the manufacturer’s prior written approval, and insufficient machine-guarding equipment.

Also on the list of alleged violations are: junction boxes connected with flexible cords instead of being mounted on the wall; unlabeled breakers on the electrcial panel; unsafe flammable liquid storage and handling; personal protective equipment and respirator deficiencies; a lack of eye-wash stations, and a deficiency in fire extinguisher training and hazard communications.

Earth Friendly Products has 15 business days from receiving the citations and penalties to either comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before OSHA’s independent review commission.

The company’s chief executive and owner, Van Vlahakis, said his lawyer, Amber Enriquez, will be meeting with OSHA officials next week. Enriquez said she couldn’t discuss the case in any detail, but added, “We are working with them to reduce the fine.”

Vlahakis said the company was once cited by OSHA at another one of its facilities for a minor infraction.

OSHA considers a violation “serious” 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,” according to the agency.

Story via North Jersey.com

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