New York Recycling Plant Fined Nearly $30,000 by OSHA

A Peekskill, N.Y., scrap metal recycling plant faces nearly $30,000 in fines from OSHA following an Oct. 4, 2004, explosion and fire that burned three employees, two severely.

Karta Corp. was cited for 12 alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an inspection conducted by OSHA between Oct. 4, 2004, and Feb. 3. The penalties proposed for the alleged violations total $29,750.

Based on the results of the inspection, OSHA alleges that fire hazards such as tanks containing hydrocarbon fuels and piles of wood chips had not been removed from an area where torch cutting was being performed and damaged equipment was being used in the process.

Other citations included electrical hazards and lack of proper guarding for moving components of numerous pieces of equipment. The company also was cited for an obstructed exit way, failure to perform annual inspections on portable fire extinguishers and failure to train employees in fire extinguisher use and other fire hazards.

"There is no reason for employees to be exposed to hazards such as we found during this inspection," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown, N.Y. "Employers must be constantly aware of their responsibility to protect their employees from hazardous conditions in the workplace."

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