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OSHA hits plastics company with 7 violations, $64,400 in fines

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Sep 27, 2012 at 8:35 AM

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Podnar Plastics Inc. in Kent with seven safety violations, including one willful, for failing to ensure that a mold machine's point-of-operation was guarded. OSHA opened an inspection in June after receiving complaints alleging hazards at the facility, which manufactures plastic containers. Proposed penalties total $64,400.

"Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they are protecting workers against known hazards in their plants," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "OSHA is committed to investigating reports of workplace hazards and protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

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

Five serious violations involve failing to develop machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures and then train authorized employees on the procedures, guard points of operation on equipment, ensure that employees wear safety glasses while using a grinder, train workers to use portable fire extinguishers and provide proper hand protection for workers required to handle hot parts. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation is failing to ensure that all exits are accessible. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Podnar Plastics has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection of the company represents OSHA's fourth.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cleveland Area Office at 216-615-4266.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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