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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 29, 2014

OSHA Fines Frost King $90K for Workplace Hazards

Workers willfully exposed to amputation hazards at Paterson, New Jersey, manufacturing facility
Film Pak Extrusion facing more than $90K in OSHA penalties

Workers at Film Pak Extrusion LLC were exposed to amputation and other safety and health hazards according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company's Paterson manufacturing facility has been cited for one willful and 12 serious workplace violations related to the dangerous conditions. The company manufactures products under the name Frost King, a well-known, do-it-yourself brand of supplies for contractors distributed in stores like Home Depot and Lowes throughout the United States. OSHA initiated the inspection in February and is proposing $90,300 in penalties.

"Machines left without required guards can cause catastrophic injury to workers, including amputation and death. One slip can end a worker's life or livelihood, and employers can prevent that," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "Film Pak Extrusion has a responsibility to put worker safety first."

OSHA inspectors cited the company with a willful violation, with a $56,000 penalty, due to a lack of machine guarding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 9,000 New Jersey workers were injured* in the manufacturing industry during 2011, the most recent year with available data. BLS reported 8,200 New Jersey manufacturing workers were injured in 2010. The rate of incidents grew from 3.2 cases per 100 workers in 2010* to 3.6 in 2011*. 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.

Carrying $34,300 in penalties, serious violations were cited for the following:
An obstructed exit route
Lack of a lockout/tagout program
Powered industrial trucks not inspected prior to use
Lack of a hearing conservation program
Failure to conduct audiometric testing
Failure to provide hearing protection and training on hearing protection and noise hazards
Failure to maintain washing facilities

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Film Pak Extrusion has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

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 and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.