Region 1 News Release: 06-768-BOS / BOS 2006-123
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075
OSHA Cites Amherst, Mass., Contractor for Belchertown Death
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- An Amherst, Mass., contractor faces $48,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following the death of a worker at a Belchertown worksite.
T.L.C. d/b/a Northeast Environmental Solutions was cited for one alleged willful and two alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the Nov. 15, 2005, accident at 425 Warren Wright Rd.
A company employee was killed when he became caught in the rotating parts of a mulching machine while trying to clear a jam. OSHA's inspection found that employees were allowed to clear such jams while the machinery was operational instead of first shutting it down and isolating its power source.
"The hazard of clearing jams while the machinery was operating was clearly recognizable, yet the employer took no steps to ensure that the proper safeguards were in place and in use," said Mary Hoye, OSHA's area director for central and western Massachusetts. "This case provides the starkest example of what can happen when safe work practices are not followed."
As a result, OSHA issued the company a willful citation, with a proposed fine of $42,000, for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards in that employees while clearing jams were exposed to being caught in the machine's rotating augers and agitators.
The company was also issued two serious citations, with $6,000 in proposed fines, for not instructing employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and for not using a safety bar to support a raised hydraulic door on the truck which contained the mulching machinery.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations 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 investigation was conducted by OSHA's Springfield area office, telephone (413) 785-0123.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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