April 2008

New York metal recycler cited by OSHA for 22 safety violations

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited an Auburn, New York, scrap metal recycling plant for a total of 22 alleged serious and repeat violations of safety standards following the November 6, 2007, death of an employee who became caught in a conveyor belt. Auburn Metal Processing LLC faces $44,100 in proposed fines.

OSHA’s inspection found that conveyors and other machinery at the plant lacked adequate guarding to prevent employee contact with moving parts, and that hardware and procedures to lock out their power sources to prevent startup while employees worked on them were not supplied and used. The conveyors also lacked start-up alarms to warn employees.

In addition, OSHA’s inspection identified a cross-section of hazards at the plant, including no program to regulate entry into permit-required confined spaces; the use of damaged forklift trucks; an uninspected and improperly maintained crane; damaged electrical cords; ungrounded electrical equipment; inadequate fire protection where flammable liquids were stored; and lack of reflective clothing for employees exposed to vehicular traffic after dark.

As a result, OSHA issued the plant 16 serious citations, with $23,100 in fines.

OSHA also issued the plant six repeat citations, with $21,000 in fines, for hazards similar to those cited during an earlier OSHA inspection. These included lack of backup alarms on loaders; failing to replenish spent fire extinguishers; unguarded open-sided floors and platforms; missing stair rails; improperly maintained air cleaning hoses; and additional instances of unguarded machinery. OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and those citations have become final.