Super King Sauna NJ LLC has agreed to correct all hazards found during a July 2013 OSHA investigation after a 68-year-old employee died while working in a bulhanjeungmok, a Korean-style sauna known for extremely high temperatures.
The fatality occurred at the company's Palisades Park, N.J., spa and fitness facility. Employed at the facility for 10 years, the worker was responsible for setting up and maintaining the sauna, according to OSHA.
"Although there are only a handful of these types of saunas in the United States, they are gaining popularity,” said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights area office. "Operators of all saunas must take the necessary steps to protect employees from excessive heat exposure to prevent future incidents."
OSHA's investigation, opened in response to the fatality, found eight serious violations and one other-than-serious health and safety violation, including the company's alleged failure to:
- Implement a heat-stress illness prevention program.
- Provide personal protective equipment to employees who work in excessive heat.
- Develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program.
- Provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area.
- Use danger tags to warn against thermal burn hazards and carbon monoxide exposure.
- Provide training for an employee expected to use a fire extinguisher.
- Evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces.
"Establishing an employee-rotation schedule to prevent prolonged exposure to heat, developing specific emergency and first aid procedures and maintaining an awareness of certain medications and medical conditions that increase the risk of heat-related illness are a few measures employers can implement to prepare for and handle heat-related incidents," Levy said.
Super King Sauna NJ LLC entered into an informal settlement with OSHA's area director in Hasbrouck Heights and faces $25,000 in proposed penalties.