Cal/OSHA Cites Henkel over $200,000 Following Death of Temporary Worker
OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 10, 2013
OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cal/OSHA cited
Henkel Corporation $200,825 for multiple serious and willful violations
following the April death of a 26-year-old temporary worker who became
entangled with the exposed rotating shaft of a mixer while mixing industrial
adhesive. Cal/OSHA sanctioned the company for failing to identify and
safeguard against the hazards of working near the mixer.
"This tragedy was completely preventable, and underscores what can go wrong
when employers do not take the necessary measures to correct workplace safety
hazards," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial
Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA is a division within DIR.
Cal/OSHA's investigation resulted in citations to the Henkel Corporation for
six serious violations, two of which are considered willful serious, as well
as one general violation. The German multinational company has a manufacturing
plant in Bay Point, where the accident occurred.
The willful violations were issued for Henkel's failure to properly set up and
maintain operation guards for the mixer involved; and for the failure to
follow its own Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) provisions
regarding the identification and correction of serious hazards posed by the
mixer. The investigation also revealed the company continued to operate the
mixer despite knowing that the partial guard on the mixer exposed workers to
dangerous moving parts.
The temporary worker, an Antioch man hired by staffing agency HR Comp, was
pulled into the unguarded mixer shaft and was unable to free himself from the
shaft. He subsequently died from his injuries. One of the serious violations
issued against Henkel was for the company's failure to ensure that sleeves on
employee coveralls fit tightly so clothing would not get caught in machinery.
"While hazards exist in most workplaces, employers have a legal responsibility
to make their employees aware of those hazards and to institute a process to
minimize them. When they fail to do so, tragic consequences like this death
can occur," said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.
Cal/OSHA also cited two professional employer organizations (PEOs): HR Comp,
LLC, based in Tennessee; and Action Personnel Agency, Inc. dba Staffing
Solutions Group, based in Pleasant Hill. HR Comp is an online PEO providing
temporary workers for Henkel and Staffing Solutions Group is the area PEO,
designated to conduct OSHA-related activities for HR Comp. The PEOs were cited
$1,500 each for failure to implement an effective written IIPP.
A willful violation is cited when an employer is aware that a hazardous
condition exists but makes no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard. A
serious workplace safety violation is cited when there is a realistic
possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the
violation. A general violation is one in which an accident or illness may
result but is not likely to cause death or serious harm.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as
Cal/OSHA, protects workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost
every workplace in California. Employers who want to learn more about Cal/OSHA
and how to reduce workplace injuries can get information at the DIR Web site.
For assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program, employers can call
Employers who want to learn more about California workplace health and safety
standards can find information on Cal/OSHA's website. Cal/OSHA's Consultation
Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee
organizations working to improve their health and safety programs. Employers
should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the toll-free
California Workers' Information Line at (866) 924-9757 for recorded
information, in English and Spanish, on a variety of work-related topics.
Complaints may also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA District Offices.
For media inquiries, contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter
Melton at (510) 286-7046.
SOURCE Department of Industrial Relations; Cal/OSHA
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