US Labor Department's OSHA cites Waste Management and
Labor Ready Northeast after June heat fatality in New Jersey
MARLTON, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Waste Management of Trenton and Labor Ready Northeast Inc. of Ewing for one serious violation each of OSHA's general duty clause following a heat-related fatality in June. OSHA initiated an inspection after a Labor Ready Northeast temporary employee working for Waste Management as a garbage collection worker died while picking up trash on a collection route in Hopewell Borough.
"This tragedy underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure that workers have frequent access to water, rest and shade to prevent heat illness and injuries during the hot summer months, and also why it is important that workers know how to recognize and respond to the signs of heat-related illness," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office.
The violation involves failing to ensure that workers performing trash collection during elevated heat conditions consumed adequate amounts of fluids as well as to train workers on how to recognize and respond to the signs of heat stress. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Labor Ready Northeast provides temporary manual laborers to small- and mid-size businesses in a variety of industries. Waste Management provides residential and commercial trash collection services throughout the country.
OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additional information and resources on heat illness – including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency – can be found at http://www.osha.gov/heat. OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://www.osha.gov/heatapp.
Each company faces a proposed fine of $7,000 – the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation. They have 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before 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 Marlton office at 856-596-5200.
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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