Plastic processing facility hit with proposed $164,000 fine for exposing employees to hazards
A 56-year-old worker at a plastic processing facility in Toccoa, Georgia sustained a head injury after falling more than six feet from an elevated platform in the workplace on Dec. 21, 2020.
He would spend Christmas Day in hospital before losing his life.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations and proposed $164,308 in penalties.
An investigation by OSHA found that while the employers – Scrap Masters Inc. – had installed some fall protection on the platform, it failed to meet federal safety standards. OSHA cited the company for failing to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls.
“When employers fail to put safety programs in place, the results can be fatal,” said Michael Hejazim, OSHA acting area director in Atlanta-East. “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”
OSHA also found that the employer failed to mount and mark fire extinguishers, exposing workers to fire hazards. The employer also did not implement a training program for the use of the extinguishers.
It also failed to repair powered industrial trucks and ensure workers wore a seatbelt when operating a forklift, and provide a training program on powered industrial trucks that consists of formal and practical training, as well as an evaluation of the employee’s performance in the workplace.
Scrap Masters also failed to develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, exposing them to amputation hazards, and prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.
Scrap Masters Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks and has a sister office in Manchester, Michigan. OSHA has inspected the company five times in the past five years, with four of the inspections occurring in the Toccoa facility. Of those four inspections, three resulted in citations issued.
A U.S. Postal Service location in Hanover Township in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is also being charged $236,783 in fine as OSHA found that it exposed employees to potentially serious and fatal injuries in the event of an emergency.
Earlier, OSHA proposed a $218,839 fine on a family-owned tortilla factory south of Austin in Texas as it is still exposing workers to the risks of amputation and other serious injuries despite previous citations.