OSHA News Release: [02/24/2014]
Contact Name: Leni Fortson or Joanna Hawkins
Phone Number: (215) 861-5102 or x5101
Email: email@example.com or Hawkins.Joanna@dol.gov
Release Number: 14-0188-NEW
Spa and fitness center agrees to correct hazardous conditions
after worker fatality at Palisades Park, NJ, spa
OSHA investigation found workers exposed to excessive heat levels in Korean-style sauna
PALISADES PARK, N.J. Super King Sauna NJ LLC has agreed to correct all hazards found through a July 2013 investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a 68-year-old employee died while working in a Bulhanjeungmok, a Korean-style sauna known for extremely high temperatures. The fatality occurred at the company's Palisades Park spa and fitness facility. Employed at the facility for 10 years, the worker was responsible for setting up and maintaining the sauna.
"Although there are only a handful of these types of saunas in the United States, they are gaining popularity. Operators of all saunas must take the necessary steps to protect employees from excessive heat exposure to prevent future incidents," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "To ensure the future safety of its employees and the workplace, Super King Sauna NJ agreed to correct the cited hazards and cooperated fully with our investigation."
OSHA's investigation, opened in response to the fatality, found eight serious and one other-than-serious health and safety violation, including the company's failure to:
- Implement a heat stress illness prevention program.
- Provide personal protective equipment to employees who work in excessive heat.
- Develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program.
- Provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area.
- Use danger tags to warn against thermal burn hazards and carbon monoxide exposure.
- Provide training for an employee expected to use a fire extinguisher.
- Evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces.
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. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Establishing an employee rotation schedule to prevent prolonged exposure to heat, developing specific emergency and first aid procedures, and maintaining an awareness of certain medications and medical conditions that increase the risk of heat-related illness are a few measures employers can implement to prepare for and handle heat-related incidents," added Levy.
Super King Sauna NJ LLC entered into an informal settlement with OSHA's area director in Hasbrouck Heights and faces $25,000 in proposed penalties. View the citations, which include the recommended abatement measures the company agreed to complete, at http://go.usa.gov/B6EP
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 Hasbrouck Heights Area Office at 201-288-1700.
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.