US Labor Department's OSHA cites Community Power Corp. in Morrison,
Colo., for exposing workers to amputation hazards; fines total $66,990
Employer failed to implement and train workers on hazardous energy control
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Community Power Corp. in Morrison with two safety violations, including one willful. Proposed penalties total $66,990 after an employee was seriously injured in February. The auger system on a piece of equipment unexpectedly began operating and caught the employee's leg.
The willful violation, with a penalty of $61,600, was cited for failing to develop, document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy when workers were engaged in testing, trouble-shooting and servicing operations on the BioMax Modular Bioenergy Systems. These systems use various forms of biomass to create usable energy via a patented gasification process, and the employer did not ensure that employees working in close proximity to the BioMax were adequately trained on hazardous energy control procedures. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violation, with a penalty of $5,390, was cited for failing to implement a written confined space entry program, ensuring that workers who enter an enclosed shred-auger bin are adequately protected from exposure to hazards, including powered, unenclosed paddle or screw-type augers. 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.
"Failing to train and protect workers, who are required to work in close proximity of energized machinery or equipment, on hazardous energy control procedures jeopardizes their safety. OSHA will not tolerate such negligence," said David Nelson, OSHA's area director in Greenwood Village.
The facility, which employs about 56 workers, has been inspected twice since 2009, resulting in the citation of eight violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For information on confined space, go to http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces and for information on lockout/tagout of hazardous energy sources go to http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.
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 Englewood Village Area Office at 303-843-4500.
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 exist 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.