OSHA initiated an investigation on June 22 after receiving a complaint alleging that employees were exposed to diesel fumes and that medical emergencies were not handled properly. The agency issued citations for two alleged willful violations, with a penalty of $55,000, and 33 alleged serious violations, with a penalty of $80,000.
The willful citations were due to the company's failure to regularly inspect hooks and hoist chains, according to the agency. The serious citations include the company's failure to utilize lockout/tagout procedures that prevent inadvertent machine start-ups; failure to properly maintain and use fire extinguishers; failure to properly maintain and service machinery; deficient hazardous chemical procedures; and inadequate medical surveillance for employees exposed to hazardous chemicals, according to the agency.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued when 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 to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., area office conducted the investigation.