Waste Services Firm Faces OSHA Fines of Nearly $80,000

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Interstate Waste Services of Sloatsburg, N.Y., for a total of 41 alleged serious violations of safety and health standards, totaling $79, 450 in proposed fines, stemming from inspections at three of its Rockland County, N.Y., facilities.

The six OSHA inspections begun in February of this year at facilities located in three New York cities-- Sloatsburg, Airmont, and Chestnut Ridge--were conducted under an OSHA program that targets workplaces in industries with high instances of lost workdays, restricted duty, or job transfers due to occupational injuries or illnesses.

"Our inspections identified a cross-section of safety and health hazards at these three locations that expose employees to the hazards of lacerations, amputation, electrocution, burns and injuries from being struck or crushed," said Diana Cortez, director of OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office. "This employer must take steps to effectively address the hazards at all three locations to ensure that they are corrected and do not recur."

The bulk of the hazards were identified at the Sloatsburg facility, accounting for 34 of the serious citations and $66,400 of the total proposed fines. Cited conditions included a blocked fire exit and a exit route that was too narrow; unlit fire exit signs; blocked fire extinguisher access; no exposure control program or training for employees exposed to contaminated needles and sharp objects; no hazard communication program and training; and more.

Hazards at the Chestnut Ridge transfer station resulted in four serious citations with $8,100 in proposed fines and included a blocked fire extinguisher, water leaking onto and standing near an electrical transformer, an improperly wired electrical circuit, and exposed live wiring.

At the Airmont recycling facility, three serious citation carried $4,950 in proposed fines and encompassed unlabeled circuit breakers, failure to remove a defective forklift from service, and excess air pressure for a compressed air hose used for cleaning.

Interstate Waste Services has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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