OSHA violations found at Mohawk Industries’ Johnstown, Ohio, facility will benefit employees in Torrington, Conn., Tifton, Ga., and Commerce, Tex., following a settlement between the Calhoun, Ga.-based carpet manufacturer and OSHA to resolve citations issued by the agency in June 2011 following an inspection of the Ohio facility. The four “rebond” facilities manufacture carpet pads by grinding, mixing and rebonding recycled polymer foam materials, a process that can involve explosion hazards.
“Mohawk Industries has agreed to make an investment in the health and safety of its workers by increasing fire protection at all of its carpet pad manufacturing facilities. Companies that put the health and safety of workers first should be recognized for their investments in human capital, our nation’s most precious resource,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA has been committed to the health and safety of workers for 41 years.”
Following its investigation, OSHA cited the company with four serious violations involving dust, unguarded floors and electrical hazards. Two other-than-serious violations relate to inadequate hazard communications. The agreement amends the citation and requires the company to abate the alleged fire hazards found at the Johnstown facility. Mohawk has agreed to solicit the services of a licensed professional fire protection engineer to assess potential fire and/or explosion hazards that may be generated during the handling and processing of polymer foam materials, as well as to implement that professional’s recommendations.
Mohawk Industries, which employees more than 25,000 workers globally, also will develop procedures for and schedule the periodic cleanup and removal of polymer foam dust from any surfaces where it might accumulate, provide combustible dust training for all affected employees, conduct monthly inspections of the facilities’ fire suppression sprinkler systems and provide training on emergency evacuation to employees.