A worker at Tomra NY Recycling LLC's Schenectady recycling facility was operating a baler on May 14 when he was struck by a forklift that was attempting to pass by. The worker sustained a compound leg fracture.
“This injury could have been prevented, and the employer’s failure to properly maintain forklifts and ensure adequate clearance exposed all facility workers to unnecessary dangers” said Amy B. Philips, OSHA’s acting area director in Albany. “Allowing defective forklifts to operate in a workplace puts employees at risk of being struck or crushed by these vehicles. For the well-being of its employees, Tomra must correct these hazards and ensure they do not occur again.”
The inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office found that the aisle was not wide enough to allow safe passage by the forklift, and that the forklift was driven too close to the employee. In addition, four forklifts, including the one that struck the worker, were defective and had not been taken out of service as required by OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck standard. Deficiencies included defective lights, horns, tires and safety equipment and oil leaks.
OSHA cited the company on Nov. 6 for one willful violation for the defective forklifts and two serious violations for the other hazards and proposed penalties of $84,000.
Tomra NY Recycling LLC has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with Philips or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.