OSHA Fines Company $84,500 Following Temp Worker's Death

Jan. 23, 2003
OSHA cited a Birmingham, Ala., company for safety violations that contributed to a temporary worker's fatal fall from a garbage truck.

OSHA fined Environmental Waste System, a subsidiary of Waste Away Group Inc., $84,500 for willful and serious safety violations and failure to report a fatal accident within eight hours.

The accident occurred on July 22 after an employee was picked up at a temporary agency to work as a helper on a rear-loading garbage truck. After working for only 30 minutes collecting trash in a residential neighborhood, the employee fell backwards off the riding step as the truck made a turn. He struck his head on the asphalt surface of the street, sustaining fatal injuries.

"OSHA has issued a willful citation against this employer because of a plain indifference to OSHA standards and a clear disregard for worker safety," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "The parent company has been cited before in other parts of the country for the same violations we found during this inspection."

OSHA fined Environmental Waste System, also known as Waste Management, $70,000 for one willful safety violation for failing to provide personal protective equipment, such as high visibility vests, to temporary employees. Without the protective gear, these employees were far more likely to be stuck by vehicular traffic or otherwise injured while placing trash in the refuse truck.

OSHA also issued two serious safety violations for failing to train temporary employees in safe work procedures and protection from exposure to sharp objects or infectious material found in solid waste with fines of $9,500. The remaining $5,000 fine resulted from the company's failure to report the accident in the prescribed time period.

Waste Management has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, request an informal hearing or pay the fine.

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