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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Worker Fatality in Moorestown NJ Leads to OSHA Citation

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Biltrite Inc. for one repeat and nine serious safety and health violations at its Moorestown facility. An OSHA investigation was initiated in November 2011 following the death of a worker who was crushed in a coating machine while attempting to clear a jam. The company failed to use energy control, or "lockout/tagout," procedures prior to allowing the employee to enter the machine's danger area.

The serious violations include failing to provide a lockout/tagout program for the energy sources of equipment, provide appropriate working space around electrical equipment, provide an eyewash station, ensure that proper equipment guards were in place to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving parts, ensure the proper use of flexible cords, take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors and require employees to wear goggles when handling corrosive chemicals. 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.

The repeat violation is permitting Class I flammable liquids to be dispensed into containers without the nozzle and the container being electrically connected, which creates the potential for ignition. The company was cited for the same violation in 2010. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

"This company continues to compromise the safety of its workers by disregarding OSHA's safety and health standards," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office. "Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so."

Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based American Biltrite Inc. manufactures and distributes commercial flooring and performance sheet rubber throughout America, and employs 130 workers at the Moorestown site. Proposed penalties total $51,300.

The company 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.