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Worker injuries net OSHA citation and fine for New York manufacturer

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A New York food packaging manufacturer was cited and faces $103,100 in proposed fines after two employees were seriously injured in separate workplace safety incidents last summer.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Middletown, New York-based Genpak L.L.C. for two repeat, six serious and one other-than-serious safety violation that occurred at its Hope Hull, Alabama, facility, the agency said Thursday in a statement.

OSHA initiated two inspections after learning of two serious injuries, one in June 2015 in which an employee suffered a partial finger amputation while trying to clear a machine jam, and the other in July 2015 when a worker was severely burned after the forklift he was using ignited butane vapors, creating an explosion inside a shipping trailer, according to the statement.

The agency cited Genpak for failing to implement specific procedures to prevent machines from starting up during maintenance and servicing and for exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded platforms — violations similar to those the company was cited for in 2011 and 2012, according to the statement.

Genpak was also cited for failing to use an explosion-proof forklift in an area filled with flammable gas, exposing workers to being struck by improperly stacked boxes, not protecting workers from electrical deficiencies and failing to notify OSHA within 24 hours of a workplace amputation as required by regulation, according to the statement.

“I am concerned that this employer is continuing to expose its workers to previously cited and easily identifiable hazards,” Joseph Roesler, OSHA's area director in Mobile, Alabama, said in a statement. “Management needs to review its safety program and ensure that safety hazards are not only being addressed, but also shared with the other facilities within the company.”

A company spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.