Sterling Seating Inc., a New Jersey-based restaurant furniture manufacturer, has agreed to pay more than $123,000  after the company was issued more than 40 citations for workplace hazards in July 2015.

In a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Sterling Seating agreed to pay $123,431 in penalties, fix the workplace hazards found, and to take extra precautions for worker safety. The settlement was reached after OSHA issued the company 25 repeat, 15 serious and two other-than-serious safety and health citations for exposing workers to amputation, chemical, electrical, exit and struck-by hazards. In addition, the company was cited for multiple safety violations related to methylene chloride and fire hazards.

Sterling Seating was cited for exposing workers to amputation hazards while operating machinery without using procedures to prevent inadvertent machine start-up.  Sterling also failed to educate employees on the effects of hazardous chemicals used in the workplace, including methylene chloride – a harmful, carcinogenic chemical – and combustible dust and formaldehyde. The company received citations for electrical, exit hazards, fire hazards, and struck-by hazards from boxes stacked unsafely.

"Employees exposed to methylene chloride are at increased risk of developing cancer, as well as adverse effects on the heart, central nervous system and liver," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

This isn’t the first time Sterling Seating has been in trouble with OSHA. The company received 34 safety violations in 2011.

Sterling must hire a qualified third-party safety firm to assess workplace safety and health conditions, and provide safety and health management services for two years. That consultant will report periodically to OSHA.

Sterling will also install a ventilation system to reduce methylene chloride concentrations. Until the installation is complete, personal air monitoring must be conducted on a quarterly basis.

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