Marglen Industries recycles plastic bottles into carpet or food-grade packaging. Proposed penalties total $69,300; $63,000 stems from the “willful” violation while $6,300 stemmed from the “serious” violation.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Marglen President John Burnes said the incident occurred in late May of this year and that an OSHA inspector visited the plant and conducted a day-long investigation a day or two later.
“We hadn’t heard anything for four months,” Burnes said.
As to whether or not Marglen would contest the findings, fines and penalties, Burnes said he could not comment.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Public Affairs said the company had requested an informal conference with the federal workplace safety agency.
The OSHA finding of a willful violation involves allowing employees to perform service and maintenance on the dust collector’s airlock system without developing, documenting and using a specific lockout/tagout procedure for de-energizing the system. A willful violation is one committed with knowledge of, or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violation involves failing to train workers as required by the company’s lockout/tagout program to ensure that they are able to recognize hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods necessary for isolating energy. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
“Although the company has a lockout/tagout program, it was not implemented for this machine, resulting in serious injury to a worker,” said Andre Richards, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office. “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that proper safety procedures are followed at all times.”
OSHA initiated an inspection in response to the incident under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations.