A New York flooring manufacturer faces a steep fine after falsely claiming to have corrected workplace hazards that OSHA inspectors cited.

An administrative law judge with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission recently upheld $166,265 in citations and penalties that OSHA levied against Timberline Hardwood Flooring LLC, a custom manufacturer that claimed to have corrected previously cited hazards.

The case dates to 2012 when OSHA cited a predecessor company, Timberline Hardwood Dimensions Inc., for failing to adequately train operators of powered industrial trucks, commonly known as forklifts, and failing to develop and implement lockout/tagout, hearing conservation, and chemical hazard communications programs at its Fulton, N.Y., plant north of Syracuse.

At the time, Thomas Vavra, co-owner of the predecessor and current companies, signed abatement certifications declaring the company had corrected the violations.

But a 2018 OSHA inspection found that the hazards remained uncorrected and that the abatement claim Vavra signed was false.

OSHA cited Timberline Hardwood Flooring for willful violations of the uncorrected hazards, which Timberline appealed to the review commission.

The judge issued the decision July 9, affirming the willful violations, as well as seven serious citations from the 2018 inspection, including a locked emergency exit, unguarded machines, and several electrical hazards.

“Employers have a duty to take effective actions to correct hazards, prevent their recurrence, and provide truthful information as to hazard abatement,” said OSHA’s New York region administrator Richard Mendelson.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).