OSHA proposes fines to Palmyra, NJ, linen rental company for workplace safety and health hazards

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Region 2 News Release: 11-1804-NEW (osha 12-003)

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $125,000 in fines to Palmyra, NJ, linen rental company for workplace safety and health hazards

PALMYRA, N.J. (MMD Newswire) January 11, 2012 -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Gemtex Inc., doing business as Gemini Linen Rental, for 37 serious and 11 other-than-serious safety and health violations at its Palmyra facility. OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a referral from New Jersey's Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Program. Proposed fines total $126,875.

"These safety and health hazards pose serious risks to Gemini employees and must be addressed immediately," said Paula Dixon Roderick, OSHA's area director in Marlton. "Employers are legally responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces."

The serious violations, which carry $124,775 in penalties, involve failing to provide protection from electrical hazards; develop and implement written respiratory protection, hazard communication and confined space entry programs; provide machine guarding; provide guardrails for stairways and working platforms; conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment; ensure the safe use of ladders and forklifts; provide lockout/tagout, respirator, hazard communication and fire extinguisher training; provide an eyewash station; provide mounted fire extinguishers; and ensure aisles and passageways were clear. 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.

The other-than-serious violations, with $2,100 in penalties, involve various electrical hazards as well as incomplete record keeping for the OSHA 300 injury and illness logs. 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.

"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which they work with their employees to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GemtexInsp315656413-315656447.pdf*.

Gemini Linen Rental, which employs 75 workers at its Palmyra site, provides linen and uniform rental services to the hospitality industry. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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.

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 Marlton office at 856-596-5200.

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.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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