OSHA has proposed maximum penalties for a recycling company in connection with the death of an employee who was using a conveyor. Another employee of the company was injured in a similar incident four years ago.
The worker suffered multiple external and internal injuries after his arm was caught in a conveyor belt. The employee had entered a shredding machine to clean it and was shoveling metal scraps onto a conveyor which would remove the material from the shredder. The conveyor wasn’t guarded and the shredder wasn’t lockout out.
The seven willful violations are for failure to:
- determine if any spaces were permit-required confined spaces
- inform employees of the existence and location and the danger posed by permit spaces
- develop and implement procedures for safe permit-space entry
- document measures to prepare an entry permit before entry was authorized
- provide training to employees whose work was regulated under permit-required confined spaces
- conduct a periodic inspection of energy control procedures at least annually, and
- provide training to employees on energy control.
The serious violation was for failing to evaluate the ability of emergency services to respond to emergencies occurring within a required permit-confined space.
The willful violations were $70,000 each. The serious violation was $7,000.
“Management was aware that the shredder was not being lockout out and that workers were accessing the pit with the conveyors running,” said Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. “Behr Iron & Steel continued the practice of allowing the conveyor to run because it increased efficiency.”
Walters also called safety training at Behr “woefully inefficient.”
OSHA had inspected various Behr facilities six time in the five years before the fatality. In March 2010, numerous violations were issued at a Behr shredding facility in Iowa after an employee’s arm became trapped and seriously injured while entering a permit-required confined space.
Behr is now in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program which concentrates on inspecting employers that have committed willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations. Companies in the SVEP receive follow-up inspections from OSHA.
Behr has 15 business days to respond to OSHA’s citations.