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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [02/01/2012]
Contact Name: Leni Fortson or Joanna Hawkins
Phone Number: (215) 861-5102 or x5101
Release Number: 12-0153-NEW

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Baltimore, Md.-based marketing company for safety and health hazards at New Jersey facility

Company added to Severe Violator Enforcement Program

MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Baltimore, Md.-based Vertis Communications for 12 — including two repeat — safety and health violations at its Monroe Township direct marketing facility.OSHA initiated an inspection in response to complaints alleging the hazards.Proposed penalties total $120,700.

The repeat violations, with $70,000 in penalties, include the company's failure to guard machines with moving parts as well as to develop, document and use procedures for controlling hazardous energy.The company was cited for the same violations at its East Longmeadow, Mass., and Lenexa, Kan., facilities in 2011.A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Due to the repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Vertis Communications in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on SVEP, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

"By not removing these hazards, the company continues to leave workers at risk of serious injuries and possible death," said Patricia Jones, OSHA's area director in Avenel."Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe and healthful work environment for employees."

Ten serious violations carrying $50,700 in penalties include the company's failure to ensure an adequate hazardous energy control program for specific types of equipment, conduct periodic inspections, certify employee training, provide electronic safety devices, provide approved electrical gloves for employees performing electrical maintenance, equip power-operated tools with guards, properly store flammable materials, provide eye protection, perform a personal protective equipment assessment and provide adequate working space in front of electrical boxes.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.

"Employers can successfully prevent these types of hazards by establishing an injury and illness prevention program in which they work with their employees to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administration in New York.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/vertis-315639617-0130-12.pdf and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/vertis-315639609-0130-12.pdf.

Vertis Communications, which operates 37 locations with about 5,000 employees nationwide, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Avenel Area Office at 732-750-3270.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.