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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued citations to the Genpak facility in Hope Hull, Alabama, for exposing workers to dangerous hazards that caused two serious injuries in a two-month span. More than $103,000 in penalties have been proposed for the two repeated, six serious and one other-than-serious safety violations.
OSHA initiated inspections after learning of the injuries, which occurred in the summer of 2015. In June, a worker suffered a partial amputation of a ring finger as a machine unexpectedly started as he tried to clear a jam. In July, another worker was airlifted to a local hospital after the forklift he was using ignited butane vapors, creating an explosion inside a shipping trailer. He suffered severe burns as a result.
OSHA inspectors cited Genpak for failing to implement specific procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. The employer also exposed workers to fall hazards from unguarded platforms. OSHA previously cited the company for similar violations in 2011 and 2012.
The serious citations are related to failing to use an explosion-proof forklift in an area filled with flammable gas, exposing workers to machinery that could start up during maintenance and servicing, exposing workers to being struck by improperly stacked boxes, and not protecting workers from electrical deficiencies. Other violations include failing to notify OSHA within 24 hours of a workplace amputation.
"I am concerned that this employer is continuing to expose its workers to previously cited and easily identifiable hazards," said Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director. "Management needs to review its safety program and ensure that safety hazards are not only being addressed but also shared with the other facilities within the company."
Headquartered in Middletown, New York, Genpak manufactures food-packaging products and employs nearly 200 workers at 18 facilities throughout North America. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov.