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Leather finisher cited after worker caught in press (4/18)

April 18, 2011
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OSHA has cited Pearl Leather Finishing Inc. of Johnstown, NY for 20 alleged violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Johnstown plant. The company, which supplies finished and cut leather products, was investigated following an October 2010 incident in which an employee's hand became caught in an embossing press.

OSHA's inspection found that the press lacked adequate guarding which would have prevented workers from coming in contact with its point of operation. The inspection also identified several other instances of unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery as well as a lack of procedures, tools and training to ensure that machines were shut down and their power sources locked out before employees performed maintenance on them.

"This case is a stark example of the devastating consequences to workers when adequate machine guarding is absent," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Had the press been effectively guarded this injury would not have occurred.”

Additional hazards identified during the inspection included lack of a hazard assessment to determine personal protective equipment needed by workers, lack of protective eyewear, lack of a written respirator program and medical evaluations, blocked fire extinguisher access, lack of a chemical hazard communication program, electrical hazards, a fall hazard, lack of a load rating for an overhead storage area and excess pressure for a compressed air hose. OSHA issued 19 serious citations for the violations, with $104,400 in proposed fines.

The company also was issued one other than serious citation, with a fine of $900, for inaccurately recording an injury.

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