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Allentown bottling company fined for repeated worker safety risks

A - Treat Bottling Co. in Allentown was recently fined $129,745 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 16 worker safety and health violations. Shockingly, even though the violations were discovered during a follow-up inspection to check on problems found in 2011, 14 of the violations were repeats, meaning that the company had been put on notice but still hadn't fixed them. One of the violations was categorized as "serious," meaning that OSHA defines as one that creates "a substantial probability that serious physical harm could result."

Most of the long list of worker safety and violations OSHA found involved problems that could cause a serious or even deadly industrial accident. One serious, repeat violation was that no safety guards were provided for a machine called an SWF Machinery Tray-Matic, which assembles cardboard trays. OSHA said the lack of safety equipment puts employees at risk of amputation.

That violation alone resulted in a $3,850 fine. In addition, OSHA cited the company for:

  • Electrical hazards
  • Failure to establish machine-specific hazardous energy control procedures and training
  • Failure to ensure an unobstructed means of egress
  • Failure to ensure the proper use of flexible cable
  • Failure to establish noise engineering controls, since employees were exposed to an average of greater than 85 decibels of noise, which can damage hearing
  • Failure to provide employees with baseline and annual audiograms
  • Failure to provide noise training for employees
  • A defective forklift on a powered industrial truck

"OSHA will not tolerate employers jeopardizing the safety and health of workers," said the director of OSHA's Allentown Area Office in a press release. "By continuing to disregard OSHA standards, A - Treat Bottling continues to put its workers at risk of serious injuries."

A - Treat Bottling can challenge the fines if it does so before Feb. 19. No information was available as to why the company has repeatedly put their employees at risk of industrial accidents.

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