US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Jacksonville, Fla., metal recycler
with safety and health violations after 2 workers suffer amputations
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 16 safety and health citations against Union Metal Trading Inc. in Jacksonville, after one worker suffered the amputation of three fingers and another worker had the tip of his finger amputated while working at the plant.
A willful citation was issued for allowing workers to operate machinery with a broken guard that was designed to keep operators from being exposed to amputation injuries. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The company has received 13 serious citations for failing to train employees on machinery hazards and safety procedures, exposing employees to tripping hazards, failing to clearly mark exits, storing propane tanks where they could be damaged by vehicle traffic, allowing employees to handle corrosive chemicals without providing an eye flushing station, allowing untrained employees to operate a damaged forklift truck, exposing employees to electrical hazards and allowing employees in a number of instances to work without wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and helmets. A serious citation is issued 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.
OSHA has issued two other-than-serious citations for the company's failure to supply a written hazard communication program or training on hazardous chemicals, and to provide safety instruction signs near machinery. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Exposing workers to amputation hazards is unacceptable to OSHA and must be unacceptable to employers, as well," said Jeff Romeo, OSHA area director in Jacksonville. "No employee should have to risk serious injury or death for a paycheck."
Proposed penalties for the citations total $45,200. The company, which processes scrap metal for recycling, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jacksonville Area Office; telephone 904-232-2895. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
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.