OSHA Proposes $51,800 in Fines for New Wave Plastics for Alleged Serious Hazards at Cleveland Facility New Wave Plastics

OSHA Proposes $51,800 in Fines for New Wave Plastics for Alleged Serious Hazards at Cleveland Facility

A lack of HazCom training and other violations are cited by OSHA at recycling company.

New Wave Plastics has been cited for 13 alleged safety violations after an OSHA inspector allegedly found a lack of training and personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Cleveland facility of the recycler and plastic products supplier.

After receiving an employee complaint in November 2013, OSHA initiated an inspection of the facility. Proposed penalties total $51,800.

New Wave Plastics Executive Vice President Doug Coates said the inspection was triggered by a complaint from a disgruntled employee, who "claimed our tow motors had no brakes, lights or horns." According to Coates, the company participates in a lease program through Toyota for the tow motors, and that equipment is in excellent working order and is replaced every 18 months.

He said the company has met with the OSHA area director once, and plans to meet with him again at the end of April.

“Employers have a responsibility to train workers about hazards found in their facilities and to take precautions to prevent injuries and illnesses,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers must ensure workers are protected from hazards and that they receive the required safety training.”

Although the deadline has passed for employers to ensure all employees are trained on the GHS formatting for HazCom, OSHA mostly is identifying GHS violations incidentally rather than seeking them out. In this case, the violations were discovered in the course of responding to a complaint.

Attorney Courtney Malveaux suggests employers be prepared at any time to provide documentation demonstrating that all covered employees have completed the HazCom training.

OSHA proposed 12 serious violations to New Wave Plastics for allegedly failing to train workers about wearing PPE; hazards associated with the use of chemicals in the work environment; forklift safety and fire extinguishers; and failure to provide fire-retardant clothing.

The agency also proposed citations for allegedly failing to develop a hearing conservation program, create a hazard workplace assessment and develop a hazard communication program. The presence of combustible dust also was found, according to the agency.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for allegedly not providing required information to workers on OSHA's respiratory standards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"The safety and wellbeing of employees is taken seriously at New Wave Plastics," said Coates. He added that at this point, no fines have been levied and the company is in compliance with all of the alleged violations.

Should the meeting at the end of the month not go in its favor, New Wave Plastics can contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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