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Alleged Health and Safety Violations Could Cost Maplewood Company Nearly $200K

Maplewood Beverage Packers LLC cited for 21 violations.

A bottling company faces nearly $200,000 in fines for health and safety violations at its Maplewood plant, the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday.

Maplewood Beverage Packers LLC and temporary employment agency Corporate Resource Services Corp., of Elizabeth, have been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA’s December 2013 investigation, which found willful and repeat violations, was initiated following a referral from the Maplewood Fire Department after a temporary worker was injured after falling from a ladder. OSHA has proposed $182,270 in penalties.

“Host employers and staffing agencies are jointly responsible for ensuring worker safety and health,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office. “Employers must protect all workers from job hazards—both permanent and temporary workers.”

OSHA cited Maplewood Beverage with one willful, one repeat, 17 serious and two other safety and health violations. The willful health violation was for not providing employees with annual audiograms, according to the report. This violation carries a $54,450 penalty. 

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health, according to the report.

The repeat safety violation, with a $13,860 penalty, was cited for the company’s failure to provide proper machine guarding, according to the report. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years, the report stated.

The serious safety and health violations carried $101,970 in penalties for excessive noise; slip, trip and fall hazards.

The beverage bottling company was also cited for:

  • Develop and implement an emergency response plan for employees required to respond to spills of hazardous substances.
  • Ensure exit routes were adequate.
  • Utilize lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts while cleaning a labeling machine.
  • Implement a hazard communication program and train workers who handle hazardous substances.
  • Remove powered industrial trucks in need of repair from service.
  • Provide machine guarding
  • Label spray bottles containing hazardous chemicals.
  • Provide employees with baseline audiograms and train all employees exposed to excessive noise.

A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, according to the report. 

Two other violations were cited for failure to train employees who work in the area where lockout/tagout is performed on the purpose and use of energy control procedures, the report stated.

The employer also failed to notify employees upon first entering employment and annually thereafter about noise exposure records, the person responsible for maintaining and providing access to noise exposure records, and their rights to access medical and/or exposure records, according to the report. An other-than-serious violation carried a $990 penalty. 

Corporate Resources Services employed the temporary workers and supplied labor to Maplewood Beverage. OSHA cited the temporary employment agency for two serious health and safety violations for failure to conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace, ensure that each employee was informed of the effects of noise on hearing and inform each employee about hearing protectors, the report stated. The serious violations carry an $11,000 penalty.

Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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