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OSHA finds NJ manufacturer exposing workers to serious workplace hazards

25 August 2011

SAFAS Corporation, a Clifton, NJ manufacturer of simulated granite products made of polymer, is facing $135,000 in penalties for exposing workers to hazards in the workplace.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiated an investigation of SAFAS Corp. after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reported strong solvent odors at the facility.

According to an OSHA release, the agency issued two willful violations and $85,000 in penalties against SAFAS Corp., indicating it found that the company knowingly disregarded safety regulations when it failed to provide its workers with forklift training and a program about hearing loss prevention.

OSHA also levied $51,000 in penalties for eighteen serious violations, those that have “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.”

OSHA found that SAFAS Corp. exposed workers to hazardous conditions such as excessive noise, inadequate or damaged electrical equipment, no safety latch on a hoist, blocked exits and a forklift with an unsecured propane tank. The company also failed to provide injury prevention equipment and policies, including lack of personal protection, eyewash station, fire extinguisher training and a lockout/tagout program.

A lockout/tagout program uses practices and procedures defined in OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout or LOTO) standards. This requires machines be turned off and the power source locked out before an employee performs maintenance on a machine to protect them from injuries that could occur if the machine unintentionally resumed operation.

SAFAS Corp. failed to have a hazard assessment and hazard communication program that identifies and educates employees about exposure to hazards at the facility and the protective measures available to prevent injury from those hazards.

"By disregarding OSHA safety and health standards, this company is leaving its employees vulnerable to hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "It is vital that all identified violations be quickly corrected to protect the workers at this facility."

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