OSHA cited Hanna Paper Recycling Inc., a recycler of surplus and scrap paper products located in Mansfield, Mass., for 19 Serious violations of safety standards following the death of an employees.
OSHA has proposed penalties against the company totaling $59,200.
According to Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for southeastern Massachusetts, the alleged violations were discovered during an inspection initiated on June 19.
On that day, a Hanna employee entered a baler to dislodge a jammed cardboard bale and was crushed to death between the bale and the gathering ram when the baler was activated.
Gordon explained the citations relating to the fatality concern violations of OSHA''s lockout/tagout standard, which requires that machinery, such as the baler, be shut down and their power sources locked out before employees perform maintenance activities or, as in this case, attempting to remove jammed bales.
The standard further requires that an employer develop and implement a lockout/tagout program which includes employee training and inspections to ensure that its requirements and procedures are followed.
In this case, the company failed to develop lockout procedures for two balers used at the plant as well as for hydraulic guillotine shears, a shredder and conveyor belts, failed to inspect is lockout procedures and failed to train employees in lockout procedures.
In addition, the balers could be locked out because they lacked operable disconnect handles and both balers also lacked working audio and visual alarms to warn employees when the machines were being activated.
"This is exactly the sort of accident the lockout/tagout standard is designed to prevent," said Gordon. "This accident should never have happened. No worker should have been inside that baler while it was operating or capable of operating."
"An effective lockout/tagout program would have prevented this accident," she said. "It would ensure that the baler was shut down, locked out and incapable of activating before entry, that employees were trained to recognize the hazard of entering the baler unless it was locked out and that inspections were conducted which would have identified this hazard. Unfortunately, these basic, commonsense and required safeguards were neither provided nor used here."
Gordon noted that the inspection also identified several other serious safety hazards which, though unrelated to the accident, pose a hazard to employees'' safety or health if not corrected.
These included instances of exposed live electrical parts, inadequately trained forklift operators, lack of a chemical hazard communication program, an unguarded work platform, improper storage of oxygen and acetylene tanks and inadequate guarding of machine parts.
Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to such potential hazards as electrocution, crushing injuries, falls, explosions and being caught in moving machine parts.
by Virginia Sutcliffe