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Warehouse Firm, Staffing Provider Get Penalties

February 22 2012

An operator of a warehouse in Palmyra, Pa., that serves Hershey Co. faces a possible fine of $283,000, and a staffing firm at the facility faces a possible penalty of $5,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Tuesday.

Exel, which operates the warehouse, was cited for nine workplace safety and health violations, according to the Department of Labor. SHS Group, which does business as SHS Staffing Solutions, was cited for one violation.

The proposed fines stem from an inspection after a complaint was filed on behalf of a group of foreign students by the National Guestworker Alliance. The students were working at the facility under J-1 visa program, which is designed to promote cultural exchange. SHS hired the students under contract with Exel to repackage Hershey candies for promotional displays.

Exel was cited for failing to record injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log for four years among other things, according to the Department of Labor. SHS, based in Lemoyne, Pa., was cited for failing to provide training to employees on the lockout/tagout of energy sources.

Exel and SHS have 15 days to contest the citations.

Work performed by the student, who were sponsored for their visas by the Council for Education Travel – USA, is also under investigation. However, the council has withheld documents from investigators and the secretary of labor has filed a petition to enforce a subpoena against the council, according to the Department of Labor.

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Steve Shortland 02/22/2012 04:52 pm

Lockout/tagout? Were these students doing maintenance, or operating a baler or shredder?
Sounds like the companies tried to cut that last little corner. Lucky nobody got killed.


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