Warehouse workers face 'electrical nightmare' in NJ
Tangled extension cords, overloaded power outlets in wet locations, blocked exits, faulty forklifts, machines without safety guards and damaged floors were all in a hazardous day at work for employees at Xpedited Services LLC's warehouse in Jersey City, OSHA investigators found. After the August 14, 2014, inspection, the Jersey City-based trucking company received 14 serious citations with $63,000 in associated fines for permitting dangerous electrocution, fire and other hazardous risks to exist.
"Xpedited Services created an electrical nightmare for its workers, exposing warehouse employees to electrocution hazards and significant fire risk. It was unacceptable that the company failed to comply with long-standing federal electrical safety standards and local building codes," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.
Temporary wiring in wet areas
OSHA investigators found that in place of permanent wiring, the company used flexible cords and temporary wiring to power hand-held tools and the warehouse, which created electrocution and fire hazards. Making matters worse, cords were used in wet areas without damage protection and were not inspected regularly. The inspection also found four extension cords plugged into a single, overloaded electrical outlet.
In addition to the electrical and fire hazards, Xpedited Services was cited for lacking mechanical safety devices; allowing exit routes to be blocked in two locations; operating damaged forklifts; improperly storing propane bottles; and having open holes in warehouse floors. Employees also lacked forklift or fire extinguisher training.