SOMERVILLE, NJ – Custom cabinetmaker Choice Cabinetry LLC exposed employees to methylene chloride, a known carcinogen, as well as other safety and health hazards, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The 15 violations, including three "willful" ones, could cost the Somerville, NJ-based manufacturer $136,290 in penalties. OSHA's inspection of the plant took place in March.
Seven serious violations, including employee exposure to methylene chloride, carry a $32,340 penalty. "Methylene chloride is a carcinogen, so it's vital that employers like Choice Cabinetry take all necessary steps to protect workers when there is exposure," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office. "All workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment, and OSHA will hold each employer accountable when this legal obligation is not met."
Penalties of $53,900 were assessed for the three willful violations for the company's lack of a hazard communication program, hazard communication training and methylene chloride training. According to OSHA, "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."
Choice Cabinetry also was assessed a $27,720 penalty for a failure-to-abate citation for not have alarms on the walk-in spray booth to warn of inadequate ventilation. An additional $21,560 penalty was given for four repeat violations of damaging noise levels and respiratory program deficiencies. OSHA said Choice Cabinetry had been previously cited for this in 2011.
The company was given a $770 penalty for failure to provide injury and illness records within four hours of OSHA's request.
OSHA says Choice Cabinetry has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
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