July 10, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078 (404) 562-2076
Fire at company resulted in a fatality during January 2007
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totaling $41,400 against Columbia Recycling Corp. for 11 serious safety violations at its plant in Dalton, Ga. In January 2007, a fire at this location resulted in the death of one employee and serious injuries to two other employees.
Columbia Recycling employs 288 people to manufacture conveyor belt material from recycled textile remnants.
"We found that the employer was not enforcing safety rules which could save lives," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office.
Inspectors found a number of hazards which contributed to an unsafe working environment, including fall hazards, blocked fire exits, unclean and disorderly passageways, materials blocking the line of sight to emergency exits, materials blocking access to electrical equipment and exposed electrical wiring. No written emergency plan was prepared or available in case of a fire.
Other violations included liquid propane gas tanks which could be struck by vehicles, employees operating forklifts without formal training and no written certification of forklift operators' training.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; telephone (770) 984-8700.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.