Region 1 News Release: 12-16-BOS/BOS 2012-008
Jan. 11, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $70,000 in fines against Everett,
Mass., recycling company after workers injured by rotating equipment
ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Prolerized New England Co. LLC, doing business as Schnitzer Northeast, for 10 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Everett recycling facility, where two workers were injured. Proposed penalties total $70,000.
The employees were performing maintenance work inside a large rotating drum used to sort scrap material for recycling when the drum activated, injuring them. OSHA's Andover Area Office conducted an inspection in response to the September incident and identified several serious deficiencies in the facility's hazardous energy control procedures, which should ensure machines are deactivated and their power sources locked out before employees perform maintenance work. In this case, the procedures were incomplete and not clearly communicated, training was inadequate, and the procedures were not reviewed to ensure that they were effective and understood by the employees.
The inspection also found that the employees were not trained to work in confined spaces, such as the drum, and were not provided a hot work permit for welding performed in the drum. Finally, the employees were exposed to the hazard of falling into the drum through an unguarded chute opening. OSHA assessed the maximum fine of $7,000 for each of the violations, for a total of $70,000 in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"The unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance can injure or kill workers in seconds," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex counties. "Preventing this hazard requires a combination of effective hazard control procedures, training and diligence to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place, in use and understood by workers."
Detailed information on the hazards and safeguards associated with hazardous energy control and confined spaces is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Andover office at 978-837-4460.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.