OSHA initiated an inspection in June as part of its national emphasis program to prevent work-related amputations, and expanded the inspection to address high noise levels and lack of a hazard communication program.
Citations were issued for four alleged willful violations with a proposed penalty of $132,500, and 22 alleged serious violations with a proposed penalty of $36,000.
"The company was well aware of safety and health standards for preventing inadvertent machine start-ups and protecting against hearing loss, but chose not to adhere to them," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
Willful citations were issued for failure to develop, document or use lockout/tagout procedures; failure to properly guard machines; and failure to institute a hearing conservation program. Alleged serious violations include the company's failure to provide personal protective equipment for employees exposed to chemicals; failure to develop or implement a hazard communication program; failure to properly label chemical containers; failure to train employees on the hazardous chemical used at the facility; failure to maintain unobstructed exit routes; failure to provide fire extinguishers where flammable liquids were stored; and failure to implement a permit-required confined space entry program.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those in which a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Knickerbocker Bed Co. employs 40 workers.