Wei-Chuan USA, a Chinese food manufacturer, is under OSHA scrutiny after a worker died at its Jersey City, NJ distribution center.
The investigation began in December 2015 after a 60-year-old warehouse supervisor died from injuries sustained in a 24-foot fall from a top-tier warehouse rack. OSHA found numerous serious violations and proposed $107,000 in penalties.
Employees were allowed to improperly climb warehouse racks, there was a lack of hand protection while handling hazardous materials, electrical hazards, hazard communication deficiencies and a lack of forklift training. In addition, the company knowingly allowed forklift to elevate employees on pallets as they conducted inventory.
Wei-Chuan is no stranger to OSHA citations. OSHA inspectors discovered a lack of hazard communication training and numerous other violations in February 2011. The company has since not improved its hazard communication training, resulting in a repeated violation based on the most recent investigation.
"Wei-Chuan USA failed to provide required fall protection and ensure its forklift practices were safe, resulting in a preventable fatality,” said Brian Flynn, acting director at OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the company used basic safeguards and properly trained its employees to recognize workplace hazards."
The employer 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.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Wei-Chuan_1114139.pdf