Total Environmental & Safety help’s NJ company reduce OSHA fines and abate violations

Total Environmental & Safety (Total) has recently negotiated an OSHA Notice of Violation for a midsize manufacturing company in central New Jersey. The outcome of the negotiations yielded a reduction in fines of $62,000 and an extension of mandated deficiency abatement dates. Total will continue to work with the company to abate all regulatory compliance deficiencies.

It all started back in November 2009 when the company received a visit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), who inspected and evaluated the company’s hazardous waste operations. The NJDEP found several violations, including improper labeling, inadequate secondary containment, flammable liquid fire hazards, incomplete hazardous waste manifests, and storing waste onsite longer than 90 days. Total was called-in to act as liaison between the company and the NJDEP, and to assist in the abatement of the cited deficiencies. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. The deficiencies were abated within a few weeks, and no fines were issued by the NJDEP.

However, just as we finished addressing the NJDEP issues, the company received a visit from the Fire Marshall. The Fire Marshall inspected the facility and issued a citation for fire hazards associated with a paint booth and dust collection system not conforming to building code. The citation had a mandatory Court appearance. When discussing the specifics of the citation with the Fire Marshall, he stated that there are other building code noncompliance issues that he did not include in the citation, but, will mention in Court. I believe he thought he was doing us a favor by providing us time to fix the problems prior to the Court date. I’m not sure it was a favor, because we now had to figure out what noncompliance issues needed to be addressed. When asked for a list of noncompliance issues not listed on the citation, the Fire Marshall recommended that we meet with the Building Inspector to identify all building code noncompliance issues. Well, I can tell you first hand, that the Building Inspector was as helpful as the Fire Marshal. After the Building Inspector completed his inspection we still only knew that the building had many noncompliance issues, but did not know what they were. As it stands now, and with the assistance of a Professional Engineer, we did identify all building code noncompliance issues, have implemented most of the necessary building upgrades, been to Court twice, and are in the process of redesigning the paint booth and dust collection system.

If that wasn’t bad enough, about a month ago the company received a letter from OSHA stating that they received a complaint. The compliant turned into a week-long OSHA inspection, many violations, and a large fine. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Total was successful in reducing the fine and extending the abatement dates. Total is presently developing and implementing safety procedures, conducting safety training, and providing industrial hygiene services, all of which are needed to abate the OSHA deficiencies listed in the Notice of Violation.

Four agencies visited the company in a period of six months. Is this a coincidence?