SWAINSBORO, GA – A Swainsboro pillow manufacturer whose history of safety and health violations includes three different incidents related to workers suffering amputation injuries is once again the focus of a federal workplace safety investigation, this time involving numerous repeat and serious violations.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an inspection of Place Vendome Holding Co. Inc. – operating as R&F Marketing – on Nov. 16, 2021, and discovered that the company exposed employees again to several of the same hazards OSHA cited in a November 2020 inspection.
Since a 2020 inspection, four company workers have suffered serious injuries.
In December 2020, a 22-year-old machine operator suffered an amputation injury. OSHA found no lockout/tagout procedures to safeguard workers.
A 40-year-old machine operator experienced an amputated finger and nine crushed fingers in February 2021. OSHA found the machine’s energy control locks had been removed.
A 50-year-old maintenance manager loading a pallet jack onto a truck suffered an amputation after a finger was caught between the wheels of the jack in March 2021.
A 37-year-old maintenance manager suffered a lacerated hand while attempting to clean fibers out of a motor in April 2022.
Following the November 2021 inspection, OSHA cited Place Vendome with seven repeat-serious violations for obstructing exit routes, failing to post well-lit signs identifying exit routes and stacking materials in unstable or unsecured tiers. OSHA also cited the company for failing to mount or keep fire extinguishers accessible, and train workers who were designated to use fire extinguishers.
OSHA issued three serious violations for locking an emergency exit door from the outside, and for failing to have emergency action plans in place, establish and utilize equipment-specific procedures to control hazardous energy and train workers on the procedures. OSHA has proposed $190,758 in penalties.
“Place Vendome once again exposed their employees needlessly to serious and life-altering hazards,” explained OSHA Acting Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez in Savannah, Georgia. “This ongoing disregard for the safety of their employees is unacceptable, and we will continue to hold them accountable until they follow all necessary federal requirements and take steps to protect workers at this facility.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.