OSHA News Release: [03/16/2015]
Contact Name: Ted Fitzgerald or Andre J. Bowser
Phone Number: (617) 565-2075 or x2074
Email: Fitzgerald.Edmund@dol.gov or Bowser.Andre.J@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-0380-NEW
World Kitchen exposes Corning, New York, employees to fire, fall, electrical, mechanical and other hazards, OSHA finds
Corelle and CorningWare dinnerware maker faces $108K in fines for 25 violations
SYRACUSE, N.Y. World Kitchen LLC makes dinnerware for well-known brand names, such as Corelle and CorningWare. Less well-known is that workers at the company's Corning manufacturing plant have been exposed to a variety of hazards that put their health and safety at risk.
Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Syracuse office visited the Corning plant in September 2014 after employees complained. An OSHA investigation found that employees faced the dangers of fire, laceration, amputation, crushing, electric shock, falling and hearing loss due to absent or deficient safeguards. As a result, the company received 25 violations of workplace health and safety standards with fines totaling $108,000.
"Any of these conditions could have cost World Kitchen employees their lives or their livelihoods," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "It's imperative that World Kitchen take swift, comprehensive and effective action to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again."
The potential hazards faced by the Corning plant's employees included:
- Laceration or amputation caused by exposed moving parts, such as belts, pulleys, sprocket wheels and chains, that could engage unexpectedly or cause injury in motion as they lacked shields to prevent employees from coming in contact with them.
- Falls off open-sided floors, from platforms and stairways without railings, and into open floor holes.
- Burns and fire caused by improper use of flammable liquids and disposal of rags and waste, and lack of worker training on how to use fire extinguishers.
- Electrical shock resulting from misused and mislabeled electrical equipment.
- Exposure to bloodborne hazards due to a lack of annual employee training, and a failure to update the plant's bloodborne exposure control plan.
- Eye and face injuries suffered by employees working with corrosive chemicals because no emergency eyewash was present.
- Hearing damage and loss caused by a failure to retrain employees who experienced noise-induced hearing loss.
The Corning plant was also cited for a repeated violation for not recording all work-related injuries and illnesses in its OSHA 300 injury and illness log. OSHA had cited World Kitchens in July 2010 for a similar violation at its Greencastle, Pennsylvania, location.
"It's imperative that World Kitchen and other employers correctly record all on-the-job injuries and illnesses. Failure to do so can mask underlying hazards that can have serious consequences for employees," said Adams. "OSHA has strengthened its record-keeping requirements. As of Jan. 1, employers must report work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours and work-related fatalities within eight hours."
World Kitchen has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings 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 Syracuse Area Office at 315-451-0808.
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.