OSHA fines N.J. manufacturer $121,600 for violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Vira Manufacturing Inc. for multiple alleged safety and health violations, proposing a total of $121,600 in penalties. The Perth Amboy, N.J., company, which manufactures retail store fixtures and displays, has 175 employees.

OSHA initiated its investigation on March 15 after receiving a referral from the Perth Amboy Police Department concerning a worksite incident involving a forklift truck running over an employee's foot. As a result of the investigation, the company was issued citations for nine repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $62,400; 28 serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $59,200; and three other-than-serious violations, which carry no penalty.

"Vira Manufacturing has a responsibility to abate these identified hazards and maintain a safe and healthful environment for its employees," said Robert Kulick, director of OSHA's Avenel, N.J., area office.

The repeat violations address the company's failure to establish an energy control program, a lack of machine guarding and the lack of a sufficient hazard communication program. The serious violations include electrical hazards, various hazards associated with the use of methylene chloride, the company's failure to provide covers for floor openings, improper stair railings, a lack of training and inspections for fire extinguishers, a lack of eye protection, the use of compressed air for cleaning, a deficient respirator program, and required medical evaluations and training.

The other-than-serious violations relate to a lack of respirator fit testing, housekeeping hazards and vermin control.

Repeat citations are issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar violation and that citation and its penalty have become final. Serious violations are issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Vira Manufacturing has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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