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Region 4 News Release   ATL: 03-06
Thurs., Jan. 16, 2003
Contact: Lorette Post     Harold Ciancio
Phone: (404) 562-2078     (205) 731-1534


OSHA Fines Birmingham Company $84,500 Following Inspection
Of Fatal Truck Accident

BIRMINGHAM , Ala. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited a Birmingham company for safety violations that contributed to a temporary worker's fatal fall from a refuse collection truck. The agency fined Environmental Waste System, a subsidiary of Waste Away Group, Inc., $84,500 for willful and serious safety violations and failure to report a fatal accident within eight hours.

The accident occurred on July 22 after an employee was picked up at a temporary agency to work as a helper on a rear loading refuse collection truck. After working for only 30 minutes collecting trash in a residential neighborhood, the employee fell backwards off the riding step, as the truck made a turn. He struck his head on the asphalt surface of the street, sustaining fatal injuries.

"OSHA has issued a willful citation against this employer because of a plain indifference to OSHA standards and a clear disregard for worker safety," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "The parent company has been cited before in other parts of the country for the same violations we found during this inspection."

OSHA fined Environmental Waste System, also known as Waste Management, $70,000 for one willful safety violation for failing to provide personal protective equipment, such as high visibility vests, to temporary employees. Without the protective gear, these employees were far more likely to be stuck by vehicular traffic or otherwise injured while placing trash in the refuse truck.

Two serious safety violations for failing to train temporary employees in safe work procedures and protection from exposure to sharp objects or infectious material found in solid waste cost the company an additional $9,500. The remaining $5000 fine resulted from the company's failure to report the accident in the prescribed time period.

Waste Management has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office at Vestavia Village, 2047 Canyon Rd. in Birmingham; telephone: 205-731-1534.

OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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