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Friday, September 21, 2012

OSHA cites Jersey City, NJ, company for workplace safety and health hazards at Kearny warehouse

Forklift injuries produce serious workers' compensation claims, so it is no surprise that the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA) is acutely concerned about forklift safety rule violations.

OSHA has cited Continental Terminals Inc., based in Jersey City, with 18 alleged safety and health violations at the company's warehouse in Kearney. OSHA initiated an inspection upon receiving a complaint. Proposed fines total $162,400.

Citations carrying $98,000 in penalties have been issued for two willful violations that involve permitting employees to ride on the forks of forklifts and a failure to provide fall protection on platforms. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Fifteen serious violations include locked or sealed emergency exit doors, improperly labeled doors, the improper storage of liquid propane tanks, unsanitary restrooms, unsafe material storage, unauthorized personnel being allowed to ride on powered industrial trucks, powered industrial trucks left unattended with a load raised and the engine running, not taking power industrial trucks out of service when in need of repair, permitting employees to operate a compactor without guards or an interlock in place and exposing employees to live electrical parts. The violations also include failing to implement a hazard communication program, provide training or material safety data sheets to employees handling hazardous chemicals, have a continual and effective hearing conservation program for employees exposed to noise at 85 decibels or greater as a time-weighted average, have a noise monitoring program for employees exposed to 85 decibels or greater, have an audiometric testing program for employees exposed to noise and provide auxiliary directional lighting on powered industrial trucks for areas where the general lighting was less than two lumens per square foot. The citations carry $64,400 in penalties.

One other-than-serious violation is failing to provide Appendix D of the respiratory protection standard to employees who voluntarily wear filtering face piece respirators. This citation does not carry a penalty.

"These violations reflect the company's lax attitude toward workplace safety and health," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Without the proper safeguards in place, employees are vulnerable to accidents that can cause injuries and even death."

The citations can be viewed at:* and*.

Continental Terminals, with 10 employees at its Kearny warehouse, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Parsippany office at 973-263-1003. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

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