US Labor Department's OSHA cites Clifton, NJ, company
for exposing workers to safety and health hazards
CLIFTON, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Safas Corp. for 20 workplace safety and health violations at its Clifton facility. OSHA initiated a Jan. 31 investigation based on a referral from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which alleged strong solvent odors. Proposed penalties total $135,000.
"By disregarding OSHA safety and health standards, this company is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "It is vital that all identified violations be quickly corrected to protect the workers at this facility."
Two willful violations with $84,000 in penalties involve the company's failure to provide workers with forklift training and a hearing conservation program. 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.
Eighteen serious violations with $51,000 in penalties include damaged and inadequate electrical equipment, the lack of a hoist safety latch, excessive noise exposure, blocked exits and an unsecured forklift propane cylinder. Additionally, the company failed to provide personal protection equipment; an eye wash facility; fire extinguisher training; proper housekeeping; a lockout/tagout program to prevent the inadvertent start-up of machinery; a hazard assessment; and a hazard communication program. A serious violation occurs 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.
Safas Corp. employs about 25 workers. The company manufactures materials that look similar to granite and are used by the fiberglass and cast polymer industries for kitchen and bath counter tops, sinks and furniture.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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 investigation was conducted by OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights office; telephone 201-288-1700. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
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