Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-174
Monday, November 21, 2000
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE: (617) 565-2074
Nearly $60,000 in Fines Proposed against Hanna Paper Recycling, Inc.
OSHA CITES MANSFIELD, MASS., EMPLOYER FOR NINETEEN SERIOUS
SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF A WORKER
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Hanna Paper Recycling, Inc., a recycler of surplus and scrap paper products located at 31 Suffolk Road in Mansfield, Massachusetts for nineteen alleged Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the death of an employee. OSHA has proposed penalties against the company totaling $59,200.
According to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for southeastern Massachusetts, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated on June 19, 2000. On that day, a Hanna employee entered a baler to dislodge a jammed cardboard bale and was crushed to death between the bale and the gathering ram when the baler was activated.
Gordon explained that the citations relating to the fatality concern violations of OSHA's hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout, standard, which requires that machinery, such as the baler, be shut down and their power sources locked out before employees perform such activities as maintenance or, as in this case, attempting to remove jammed bales. The standard further requires that an employer develop and implement a lockout/tagout program which includes employee training and inspections to ensure that its requirements and procedures are followed.
In this case, the company failed to develop lockout procedures for two balers used at the plant as well as for hydraulic guillotine shears, a shredder and conveyor belts, failed to inspect its lockout procedures and failed to train employees in lockout procedures. In addition, the balers could not be locked out because they lacked operable disconnect handles and both balers also lacked working audio and visual alarms to warn employees when the machines were being activated.
"This is exactly the sort of accident the lockout/tagout standard is designed to prevent," said Gordon. "This accident should never have happened. No worker should have been inside that baler while it was operating or capable of operating."
"An effective lockout/tagout program would have prevented this accident," she said. "It would ensure that the baler was shut down, locked out and incapable of activating before entry, that employees were trained to recognize the hazard of entering the baler unless it was locked out and that inspections were conducted which would have identified this hazard. Unfortunately, these basic, commonsense and required safeguards were neither provided nor used here."
Gordon noted that the inspection also identified several other serious safety hazards which, though unrelated to the accident, pose a hazard to employees' safety or health if not corrected. These included instances of exposed live electrical parts, inadequately trained forklift operators, lack of a chemical hazard communication program, an unguarded work platform, improper storage of oxygen and acetylene tanks, and inadequate guarding of moving machine parts. Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to such potential hazards as electrocution, crushing injuries, falls, explosions and being caught in moving machine parts.
Specifically, the nineteen alleged Serious violations and the $59,200 in fines encompass the following hazards:
- lockout procedures were not developed and documented for the balers as well as for a shredder, conveyor belts and hydraulic shears;
- failure to inspect lockout procedures for the balers, the shredder, the conveyor belts and the shears to ensure that procedures and requirements were followed;
- failure to train all authorized and affected employees on the requirements of the lockout program;
- employees exposed to crushing hazards from moving machine parts, such as the baling conveyors and their gathering rams, in the event of an unexpected startup of the machinery, which lacked working audio and visual alarms;
- inoperable disconnect handles on the main control boxes for balers which rendered them incapable of being locked out;
- unguarded lift cradle on a conveyor belt; unguarded or inadequately guarded points of operation on a shear and a shredder;
- failure to train and certify training of forklift operators; forklift operators exposed to serious crushing injuries from not wearing seatbelts while operating forklifts;
- employees exposed to live electrical parts in unguarded control and circuit breaker boxes; failure to train maintenance employees on safe electrical work practices; disconnect boxes not labeled as to what they controlled; open ground on an electrical receptacle;
- unsecured containers of oxygen and acetylene; oxygen and acetylene containers stored closer together than allowed;
- failure to establish a written hazard communication program for chemicals in the workplace including, but not limited to, hydraulic oil, motor oil, propane, chemical fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide, oxygen and acetylene, and failure to provide employees with information and training on such chemicals.
Gordon urged southeastern Massachusetts employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Braintree at 617-565-6924 and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)-- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.