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OSHA cites Wharton manufacturer, two others over warehouse issues

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A Wharton soft drink maker and two other companies were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration over noise and safety hazards at the manufacturer's production warehouse, OSHA said Tuesday.

Whitlock Packaging Corp., located at 92 N. Main St., faces $140,000 in proposed penalties over the citations, which accuse it of — among other things — failing to obtain a valid baseline audiogram as required by noise regulations, as well as issues involving exit routes, machine guards and fall hazards.

In addition, two contractors were cited, as their temporary workers were involved in the alleged incidents.

Customized Distribution Services Inc., a Wharton firm that runs the warehouse’s day-to-day operations, faces $26,400 in proposed penalties over exit route issues. Drake Nelson LLC, a staffing agency which does business as Action Group Staffing and has an office in Dover, faces $5,000 in proposed penalties tied to noise hazards potentially affecting the forklift operators and production line employees it provided for the warehouse.

“Violations like these can cause serious injuries, including permanent hearing loss,” Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office, said in a prepared statement. “Protecting employee safety and health is a responsibility the employer and the staffing agency share. All three companies should eliminate these hazards immediately.”

OSHA conducted a safety inspection Dec. 1 in response to a formal complaint, and found high noise levels, which prompted a Dec. 22 health inspection, the agency said.  

The three companies had 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to accept them, contest them or request a conference with the area director.


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