Region 3 News Release: USDL: III-00-10-24-109-PA
Tues., Oct. 24, 2000
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Office: (215) 861-5102
OSHA CITES RUSHLAND, PA ASPHALT PLANT FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH HAZARDS AFTER WORKER FATALITY; PROPOSES FINES TOTALING MORE THAN $140,000
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Eureka Stone Quarry, Inc., Rushland, Pa., for safety and health violations, proposing a total of $144,200 in penalties. Eureka Stone is a unionized asphalt plant employing 55 workers at its Rushland site.
OSHA initiated its investigation on April 24, 2000 in response to a fatality. An employee, working in a bin, was attempting to break up a clump of fine, wet stone when the material it held gave way and engulfed him. According to George Tomchick, the company was cited for two willful violations, with a penalty of $112,000; and eight serious violations, with a $32,200 penalty.
The willful violations concern the company's failure to: shut down a conveyer system and immediately contact rescue services after receiving notification that an employee was trapped in a bin; prevent unauthorized entry into a permit-required confined space; and, train employees about the hazards associated with permit-required confined spaces.
The serious violations include:
- a 14-foot, eight-inch fall hazard due to lack of railing or covers on bins/hoppers
- a broken midrail on a platform railing
- no standard railing on stairs
- no signs or other effective means to identify a confined space
- no measures taken to prevent entry into a confined space
- unauthorized individuals were not immediately removed from a confined space
- no prior evaluation of rescue service ability to respond in a proficient and timely manner
- specific Lockout/Tagout procedures were not developed or utilized
- Lockout/Tagout training was not provided
- oxygen and acetylene cylinders were stored together
"These hazardous conditions foster a continuously unsafe work environment for Eureka employees," states Tomchik, "Immediate action must be taken by management to prevent future tragedies from occurring."
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazzard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Allentown area office, 850 North 5th Street, Allentown, Pa. 18102-1731. Telephone: (610) 776-0592.
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TDD: (800) 927-9273.