Following the amputation of a worker's fingers at a recycling transfer station in North Bergen, New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Lieze Associates - doing business as Eagle Recycling - with one repeat and three serious safety violations.
According to OSHA its investigation was initiated in response to a referral by the North Bergen Police Department and has resulted in proposed fines of over $70,000.
OSHA said that its inspectors found that procedures were not used to lock out the energy source of a conveyor belt system while the worker was clearing a cardboard jam, which resulted in the amputation.
"This incident should have been prevented by simply locking out the machine's power source," chastised Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.
The administration cited the company with a serious violation for failing to implement a lockout/tagout program to control potentially hazardous energy. 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.
Further to this OSHA said that another violation includes failing to ensure a ladder placed with the two top rails was supported and placed with secure footing.
The repeat violation was cited for exposing workers to 8 foot (2.4 metre) fall hazards while working on unguarded platforms.
OSHA explained that a repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcements states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2009 and 2010.
"Eagle Recycling of New Jersey's continued disregard for complying with OSHA safety standards will not be tolerated," warned Hoffman.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Parsippany, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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