Sterilite Corp., doing business as Sterilite of Alabama LLC, and Marathon Staffing Corp. Inc., are facing $49,000 in fines for 13 safety and health violations, according to officials at Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA initiated the January 2013 inspection at Sterilite’s plastics manufacturing facility in Birmingham as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations and regional emphasis program to limit worker exposure to high noise levels.
“Employers have the responsibility for ensuring that employees are provided safe and healthy working conditions, including both full-time and temporary workers,” said Ramona Morris, director of OSHA’s Birmingham Area Office. “Hazards need to be addressed proactively by developing and implementing effective safety and health programs.”
The inspection found Sterilite exposed workers to several hazards, including dangerous, unguarded machinery and fall hazards because of missing platform railings. Additionally, the employer exposed workers to noise hazards above the required OSHA limits; failed to ensure workers used hearing protection correctly; to provide hearing protection based on the noise level to which workers were exposed; and to notify and provide follow-up care to workers who experienced a work-related hearing loss. 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 serious violations carry $42,000 in monetary penalties.
Sterilite also ended up facing citations for six additional safety violations with no monetary penalty assessed.
The Massachusetts-based company employs approximately 2,000 employees nationwide. The Alabama facility employs 316 workers.
OSHA inspectors found temporary workers employed by Marathon Staffing Corp. at Sterilite’s facility also ended up exposed to hazards. As a result, OSHA cited Marathon for one serious health violation, carrying a penalty of $7,000, because the staffing agency failed to administer an effective hearing conservation program for occupational noise exposure. Marathon has a contract with Sterilite to provide temporary inspectors and packers at Sterilite facilities. With headquarters in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, Marathon employs more than 500 workers nationwide, and 90 workers in its Alabama office. Marathon provides labor and management of the on-site workforce.