Power Unexpectedly Turned on as Workers Cleaned Machinery : $119k Fine for New York Recycler After 3 Seriously Injured Trommel

OSHA Recycling

A Long Island, New York recycling firm, Peconic Recycling & Transfer Corp faces $119,000 in fines from the Operational Safety and Health Administration after three workers were seriously injured when power was unexpectedly turned on at its plant.

Part of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA said that it has cited Peconic Recycling for one willful and 11 serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s recycling facility in Cutchogue.

On July 1, three employees cleaning screens inside a cylindrical screening trommel were seriously injured when another employee unexpectedly restarted the machine.

OSHA said that its investigation found that Peconic lacked specific written procedures to lock out machines’ power sources to prevent their unintended startup. The company was also said to have been found to lack a program to manage employees’ work in confined spaces safely and failed to train employees to protect themselves against these hazards.

Further, the Department of Labor added that Peconic also put employees at risk of falls of more than 16 feet (4.9m) through uncovered or unguarded sorting bin openings on a conveyor belt. Additional hazards were said to include a lack of proper lock-out tools and procedures; no respiratory protection training; and failing to identify and label confined spaces.

“This incident and serious injuries suffered by three employees were preventable,” asserted said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA’s area director for Long Island. “The company knew programs needed to be in place to address and prevent these hazards, yet did not provide required and adequate safeguards.”

“For the well-being of its employees, Peconic Recycling & Transfer Co. must take prompt and effective corrective action to ensure that this never happens again,” he added.

Peconic has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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