Cosmetics and skin care maker PhytogenX fined for federal safety violations

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

PhytogenX facility expansion photo (image via the company)
PhytogenX facility expansion photo (image via the company)

Related tags Ethanol

Following an investigation by OSHA last December the company has been charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for violations, including one that lead to an employee injury.  

PhytogenX, a Reading, Pennsylvania – based contract manufacturer of beauty and skin care products, is reportedly planning to appeal the fines.

Penalty call

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued the company 10 citations for safety violations discovered during its investigation of the PhytogenX manufacturing facility and laboratory late last year, reports (a news site covering Reading, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas).

Most of the citations were for violations of OSHA guidelines for handling and storage of flammable liquids. “PhytogenX did not uphold its legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace by exposing employees to serious fire hazards and not training them to recognize warning signs or special precautions required when working with flammable liquids,”​  Kevin Kilp, area director of OSHA's Harrisburg office, tells the press.

The inquiry

Last December 8 an employee’s fingertip was cut off by a machine at the facility. This incident gave rise to the OSHA investigation.

The investigation found that the machine in question did not have the required guard to protect workers’ body parts. It also turned up 9 other safety violations regarding storage, handling, and processing ofisopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and other flammables. OHSA also found that employees of PhytogenX were not properly trained about the dangers of these materials or about how to use on-site firefighting equipment.

The 4 willful and 6 serious violations (as categorized by OSHA) amount to $285,000 in fines. The company has 15 days to formally declare its next steps: appeal, negotiate, or request a conference with the OSHA area director.

Recent facility expansion

Just one year ago PhytogenX expanded significantly. By moving to a new location the company grew its facilities by nearly 5 times. The move to accommodate increased demand also saw the company’s work force grow from 58 to 70 employees.

It was the people as well as the low cost of doing business in Berks County, Pennsylvania, that kept the company in the region: “One of the benefits of expanding in Berks County was the excellent workforce,”​ Julie Knox, President of PhytogenX Inc., said at the time, “we have a great workforce and we didn’t want to lose them.”

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