OSHA Finds N.J. Launderer Awash in Hazards

Three willful violations involve a failure to conduct proper training and provide hepatitis B vaccinations, as well as to have engineering and work practice controls in place to eliminate or minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

OSHA has cited Wilmington, Mass.-based UniFirst Corp., a uniform and laundry service, for three willful and four serious safety and health violations, including some involving bloodborne pathogen and lead exposure hazards, at its West Caldwell, N.J., facility. A complaint alleging hazards prompted OSHA’s inspection. Proposed penalties total $186,000.

“The violations at this facility compromise the safety and health of UniFirst’s workers,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office, which conducted the inspection. “It is vital that the company take appropriate steps to eliminate all identified hazards.”

Three willful violations involve a failure to conduct proper training and provide hepatitis B vaccinations, as well as to have engineering and work practice controls in place to eliminate or minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens. These citations carry $165,000 in penalties.

Four serious violations involve a locked emergency door, a lack of training on fire extinguisher use, lead-contaminated surfaces, inadequate training on OSHA’s lead standard, and not providing gloves to workers exposed to potentially contaminated clothing. The citations carry $21,000 in penalties.

“A first step toward a safer, healthier workplace is to develop and implement an illness and injury prevention program in which management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional director in New York.

UniFirst Corp. employs 35 workers at the West Caldwell facility.

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