JANIS PAYS LOWER FINE TO OSHA

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ANTIOCH, ILL. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has closed its investigation into safety concerns at Janis Plastics Inc. of Antioch after the company agreed to correct problems and pay a reduced fine.

An Oct. 19 accident at the plastic sign thermoformer in Antioch and subsequent investigation first led OSHA to issue $81,100 in fines against the company on Feb. 15.

Janis and OSHA reached a settlement in March in which the firm agreed to pay OSHA $27,600 in fines and upgrade safety measures by the end of June, according to Nancy Quick, OSHA's regional director in Des Plaines, Ill.

Janis has paid the fine and completed the safety upgrades, said Ken Penge, the company's maintenance and safety manager.

``Everything has been abated,'' he said.

In the October accident, a worker lost two fingers when the router head of a robotic arm cut into the man's hand.

OSHA cited Janis for a ``willful'' safety problem, claiming it failed to provide adequate guarding at the robotic work stations.

OSHA also originally issued 20 ``serious'' citations, penalizing the firm for excess noise, inadequate guarding of other equipment and ungrounded electrical equipment. Some of those citations were reduced to ``nonserious,'' Quick said.

Janis moved all of its operations from Chicago to Antioch in 1994. The company renovated an old Regal China Corp. facility for its current plant.