OSHA has cited a former North Brunswick, NJ, detergent company for 14 serious violations involving employee exposure to chemical hazards. Proposed penalties total $55,125.
"The identified violations could potentially place workers at risk and could result in injury or possible death," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office. "One way employers can prevent potential hazards is by establishing an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program that engages employees to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards."
OSHA initiated an investigation on Nov. 18, 2009, as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Inspection Program for industries with high injury and illness rates. As a result of the investigation, OSHA inspectors have cited the company for its failure to comply with a process safety management standard containing requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. This failure includes not performing an initial process hazard analysis on certain processes, and not performing inspection and tests on process equipment to maintain its mechanical integrity. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
At the time of the inspection, the company employed 235 workers and manufactured laundry detergent and fabric softener at its North Brunswick location. The company since has moved its operation to York, Pa.
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.