OSHA Cites N.J. Company for Safety, Health Hazards

December 8, 2004

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pallet Logistics Management Services Inc. for alleged safety and health violations identified at both its Vineland and Swedesboro, N.J. facilities. The company, which refurbishes and sells pallets to companies throughout the state, employs 47 workers.

“Strong enforcement is a key part of this Administration’s efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. “The significant penalty of $187,125 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers.”

OSHA initiated its investigation on June 4, in response to a complaint alleging that employees at the Vineland site were exposed to excessive levels of carbon monoxide from forklifts. While the inspection did not support the complaint, OSHA found that noise levels at both the Vineland and Swedesboro plants were excessive and considered hazardous.

Citations were issued to the company for four alleged willful violations, with a penalty of $150,000; 14 alleged serious violations, with a penalty of $27,750; a failure to abate notice, with a penalty of $9,375; and two other-than-serious violations.

The willful citations address the company’s failure to guard machinery and to properly test for noise exposure levels. The serious citations include: noise hazards, lack of forklift training, an inadequate lockout/tagout program to prevent inadvertent machine start-ups, and lack of machine guarding. The failure to abate notice was issued for failure to correct previously-cited deficiencies in training and safety procedures.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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