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A California agency cited German multinational company Henkel Corp. and two professional employer organizations following the April death of a 26-year-old temporary worker at a Henkel plant in Bay Point, Calif.
Henkel was cited $200,825 for multiple serious and willful violations following the death of the worker, who became entangled with the exposed rotating shaft of a mixer while mixing industrial adhesive, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations' Cal/OSHA division. The agency sanctioned the company for failing to identify and safeguard against the hazards of working near the mixer.
The temporary worker, an Antioch, Calif., man hired by staffing agency HR Comp, was pulled into the unguarded mixer shaft and was unable to free himself from the shaft, according to Cal/OSHA. He subsequently died from his injuries. One of the serious violations issued against Henkel was for the company's failure to ensure that sleeves on employee coveralls fit tightly so clothing would not get caught in machinery.
Cal/OSHA also cited two PEOs: Tennessee-based HR Comp, LLC; and Action Personnel Agency, Inc. dba Staffing Solutions Group, based in Pleasant Hill, Calif. HR Comp is a PEO providing temporary workers for Henkel and Staffing Solutions Group is the area PEO designated to conduct OSHA-related activities for HR Comp, according to Cal/OSHA. The PEOs were cited $1,500 each.
Gary Petsuch, president of the Staffing Solutions Group, declined to comment.
"While hazards exist in most workplaces, employers have a legal responsibility to make their employees aware of those hazards and to institute a process to minimize them," said acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "When they fail to do so, tragic consequences like this death can occur."
Willful violation is cited when an employer is aware that a hazardous condition exists but makes no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard, according to Cal/OSHA. A serious workplace safety violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the violation. A general violation is one in which an accident or illness may result but is not likely to cause death or serious harm.