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OSHA fines Queens metal products manufacturer

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is tasked with ensuring that workplaces in New York and across the country are safe for employees. When a company is found to be violating safety standards, OSHA can impose fines, as a punitive measure and to ensure future compliance to prevent employee injuries.

Recently, OSHA proposed fines of $108,900 for safety violations at Juniper Elbow Co., a company that manufactures metal products in Queens, New York.

The company received a number of repeat violations, which indicate that it had previously been cited for the same issues, at some point during the previous five years. For instance, it was cited for failing to provide medical fitness evaluations and training to workers who were required to wear respirators when performing their duties. In addition, the company received a repeat violation for failing to conduct hazard communication training with its employees. The company had previously been cited for similar infractions in April 2011.

Juniper Elbow Co. also received citations for new, serious violations, including problems that could have resulted in hearing difficulties and other serious injuries for its workers. OSHA reported that the company did not implement a hearing conservation program for those employees who were frequently working in areas with loud noises. In addition, the company failed to give its employees who worked with chemicals the proper protective barriers for their eyes and hands. The company also received citations for failing to provide training to its forklift operators and having workers weld without fire-resistant shields.

Luckily, in this case, there have not been reports of workers sustaining personal injuries as a result of these serious violations. By definition, however, a serious violation is one in which "there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result."

When workers are injured on the job, seeking the advice of a skilled personal injury and workers' compensation attorney is a good move to ensure their rights are protected.

Source: OSHA, "Queens, NY, metal products manufacturer faces $108,900 in fines from US Labor Department's OSHA for recurring and new health hazards," March 27, 2013.

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