A Long Island, N.Y.-based fabric products manufacturer has reached a settlement with OSHA following an amputation injury.
OSHA cited U.S. Nonwovens Corp. for repeat and serious violations at their Hauppauge and Brentwood facilities after a worker suffered a hand amputation from a fabric-softener sheet-cutting machine.
Jeffrey Rogoff, regional solicitor of labor, commented in a statement, "As a result of the department's vigorous enforcement efforts, an employer with a history of safety violations has recognized its responsibilities going forward and made robust and enforceable commitments to worker safety across its workplaces."
A subsequent investigation by the agency of the company's manufacturing facilities found a lack of machine guards; a failure to store materials securely; a failure to repair damaged storage racks; and a failure train and evaluate forklift operators on safely operating equipment. OSHA also discovered potential fire and smoke inhalation hazards due to obstructed exit routes, an inoperable exit door and a failure to report an amputation to OSHA.
U.S. Nonwovens initially contested the $200,000 in penalities but accepted the citations as well as agreeing to take the following steps to enhance compliance and safety throughout its locations:
- Employing a safety and health director to oversee company facilities and establishing a labor-management safety committee to oversee safety and health policies;
- Conducting an assessment of machine guarding and implementing recommended changes;
- Retaining an independent consultant to examine the structural integrity of racks, and distribute policies and procedures for safe storage and stacking;
- Performing and documenting daily emergency exit inspections;
- Performing comprehensive inspections of fuel tanks, charging stations and training certification for all forklift operators, and inspecting the forklift program, at least twice per year; and
- Establishing, maintaining and notifying employees of a toll-free number to report safety concerns and suggestions anonymously. The notification will include notice of employees' rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act
The settlement covers three company locations in Brentwood, and one each in Commack and Hauppauge, N.Y. OSHA's Llong Island branch conducted the initial investigation.
Kevin Sullivan, OSHA's Long Island area director, said, ""This agreement commits the company to long-term safety improvements for workers at all of its New York facilities. "U.S. Nonwovens Corp. has responded to OSHA's inspection and citations by agreeing to implement corrective measures to better protect the safety and health of all employees."