Landis Plastics pays $425,520 for violations

Prior to the recent Avondale Industries of New Orleans case involving citations for not reporting workplace injuries and illnesses, perhaps the most noteworthy penalty for record-keeping violations involved Landis Plastics of Solvay, NY. The company agreed in 1998 to pay $425,520 in penalties, many of them the result of poor record keeping, according to information supplied by federal investigators.

The June 18, 1998, agreement with the Occu-pational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) settled citations issued Jan. 14, 1997, for willful violations of record-keeping and hearing-conservation requirements, along with a repeat violation of machine-guarding requirements. Other violations included inadequate training of employees in how to lock out and tag out equipment to prevent it from being started while workers were doing repairs or maintenance, as well as a citation involving ergonomic hazards.

OSHA found that Landis failed to record 63 injuries and illnesses in 1995 and 1996. More than half of the unrecorded injuries and illnesses were related to ergonomic hazards. The company had been warned specifically about the recording deficiencies during previous OSHA inspections. For each of the 63 alleged willful violations of record-keeping requirements, OSHA originally issued penalties of $10,000 each. An additional alleged willful violation, with a combined penalty of $10,000, cited 50 instances of "failure to provide full descriptions in the OSHA logs of injuries and illnesses." That amounted to $640,000 in proposed penalties for just the record-keeping violations, out of a total $720,700 in proposed penalties.

About 170 employees work at the site, making custom-molded plastic food containers. The company negotiated lower penalties in return for promises to take certain corrective actions. At the time of the settlement, Landis assured OSHA that its 1997 records had been reviewed and brought into full compliance. Other records dating back to 1995 were to be corrected soon.

In addition, employees who keep injury and illness records were to receive record-keeping training, and the company agreed to have an independent auditor review the records on an annual basis. In addition to the OSHA penalties, New York state assessed $48,000 in penalties for not reporting 21 injuries and illnesses to the state workers’ compensation system.