OSHA Reaches Fire Safety Settlement With Mohawk Industries

Fire Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement with Mohawk Industries Inc., a carpet manufacturer based in Calhoun, GA, under which the company will increase fire protection at its four carpet pad facilities. The agreement resolves citations issued by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June 2011 for violations found at the company’s manufacturing facility in Johnstown, OH.

“Mohawk Industries has agreed to make an investment in the health and safety of its workers by increasing fire protection at all of its carpet pad manufacturing facilities. Companies that put the health and safety of workers first should be recognized for their investments in human capital, our nation’s most precious resource,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA has been committed to the health and safety of workers for 41 years.”

In addition to Johnstown, Mohawk’s “rebond” facilities are located in Commerce, TX, Torrington, CT, and Tifton, GA. The facilities manufacture carpet pads by grinding, mixing, and rebonding recycled polymer foam materials, a process that can involve explosion hazards.

Following its investigation, OSHA cited the company with four serious violations involving dust, unguarded floors, and electrical hazards. Two other-than-serious violations related to inadequate hazard communications. The agreement amends the citation and requires the company to abate the alleged fire hazards found at the Johnstown facility.

Mohawk has agreed to solicit the services of a licensed professional fire protection engineer to assess potential fire and/or explosion hazards that may be generated during the handling and processing of polymer foam materials, as well as to implement that professional’s recommendations. The company also will develop procedures for (and schedule) the periodic cleanup and removal of polymer foam dust from any surfaces where it might accumulate, provide combustible dust training for all affected employees, conduct monthly inspections of the facilities’ fire suppression sprinkler systems, and provide training on emergency evacuation to employees.

Mohawk Industries employs more than 25,000 workers globally.