NY Recycling Plant Cited for 'Cross-Section of Hazards' following Fatality

OSHA has cited an Auburn, N.Y.-based scrap metal recycling plant for a total of 22 alleged serious and repeat violations of safety standards following the Nov. 6, 2007, death of an employee who became caught in a conveyor belt. The agency's inspection found that conveyors and other machinery at Auburn Metal Processing LLC lacked adequate guarding to prevent employee contact with moving parts, and that hardware and procedures to lock out their power sources to prevent startup while employees worked on them were not supplied and used. The conveyors also lacked start-up alarms to warn employees.

"It's imperative that these safeguards be promptly, completely and effectively implemented to prevent this sort of accident from occurring again," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse.

In addition, OSHA said its inspection found "a cross-section of hazards at the plant," including no program to regulate entry into permit-required confined spaces; the use of damaged forklift trucks; an uninspected and improperly maintained crane; damaged electrical cords; ungrounded electrical equipment; inadequate fire protection where flammable liquids were stored; and lack of reflective clothing for employees exposed to vehicular traffic after dark.

As a result, OSHA issued the plant 16 serious citations, with $23,100 in fines, and six repeat citations, with $21,000 in fines, for hazards similar to those cited during an earlier OSHA inspection. These included lack of backup alarms on loaders; failing to replenish spent fire extinguishers; unguarded open-sided floors and platforms; missing stair rails; improperly maintained air cleaning hoses; and additional instances of unguarded machinery.

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