New York Company to Pay $200K in Penalties for Safety Violations

July 24, 2020

A home and personal care fabric products manufacturer will correct hazards at its five manufacturing facilities in New York and pay $200,000 in penalties to resolve safety violations after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In July 2019, OSHA cited U.S. Nonwovens Corp., based in Long Island, N.Y., for repeat and serious violations at the Hauppauge and Brentwood, N.Y., facilities after an employee suffered a hand amputation in a fabric-softener sheet-cutting machine.

Violations included lack of machine guards as well as failing to store materials securely, repair damaged storage racks and train and evaluate forklift operators on safely operating equipment.

The agency also cited the company for potential fire and smoke inhalation hazards due to obstructed exit routes, an inoperable exit door and failing to report an amputation to OSHA.

U.S. Nonwovens Corp. initially contested the citations and penalties but has now reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor in which the company has agreed to institute ongoing and effective worker protection measures.

The company agreed to correct the cited hazards, comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, pay $200,000 in penalties and take additional steps to enhance compliance and safety at the five New York facilities. Those steps include:

  • Employing a safety and health director to oversee company facilities and establishing a labor-management safety committee to oversee safety and health policies;
  • Conducting an assessment of machine guarding and implementing recommended changes;
  • Retaining an independent consultant to examine the structural integrity of racks and distribute policies and procedures for safe storage and stacking;
  • Performing and documenting daily emergency exit inspections;
  • Performing comprehensive inspections of fuel tanks, charging stations and training certification for all forklift operators and inspecting the forklift program at least twice per year; and
  • Establishing, maintaining and notifying employees of a toll-free number to report safety concerns and suggestions anonymously.

“This agreement commits the company to long-term safety improvements for workers at all of its New York facilities,” said OSHA Long Island Area Director Kevin Sullivan in a U.S. Department of Labor press release.

The agreement covers three company locations in Brentwood, and one each in Commack and Hauppauge, N.Y.

OSHA’s Long Island Area office conducted the original inspection. Trial Attorney Molly Theobald of the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor of Labor in New York negotiated and executed the settlement agreement.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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