OSHA decided to investigate this business because of a complaint alleging it wouldn’t allow workers to leave the building during an emergency. The investigation turned up exit problems and a whole lot more.
OSHA has fined Brite Services, Inc., of Paterson, NJ, dba Star Laundry, for 39 serious safety and health violations at its commercial laundry facility, for a total of $164,700 in penalties.
The agency found an obstructed and improperly marked exit sign. But OSHA also found other violations, including:
- electrical hazards
- allowing employees to potentially be struck by traffic while transporting laundry bins from one building to another while crossing a public street
- failing to provide a cover and guardrails for open pits
- failing to provide a handrail for a stairway
- not evaluating the workplace for permit-required confined spaces
- failure to post signs informing workers of confined spaces
- failure to develop a written confined space permit program
- lack of an energy control program for performing maintenance and service work
- failure to train powered industrial truck operators
- allowing powered industrial trucks in need of repair to remain in service
- failure to insulate or cover steam pipes less than 7 feet from the floor
- lack of proper machine guards
- not mandating safety goggle usage
- failure to provide an unblocked eyewash station
- failure to develop a written hazard communication program, and
- failure to provide hazard communication training.
“The vast number and range of safety and health hazards observed by OSHA at this facility indicates the lack of a functioning safety and health management system (SMS),” said Lisa Levy, OSHA’s area office director that covers the region. An SMS is not required by OSHA, but the agency recommends businesses develop them. An OSHA proposal would require businesses to have SMSs, also known as Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (I2P2).
Brite Services has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the citations and penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. That process could lead to an appeal before an OSHRC administrative law judge.