Worker's Fatal Crushing Leads to New York Recycler's $73,300 Fine

A worker, who operated a large baler, was fatally crushed on June 4 when the machine unexpectedly activated while he was clearing material and he became caught between the baler's pusher block/ram and its return cavity.

OSHA has cited Metalico Rochester Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following the death of an employee at its recycling facility in Rochester, N.Y. The worker, who operated a large baler, was fatally crushed on June 4 when the machine unexpectedly activated while he was clearing material and he became caught between the baler's pusher block/ram and its return cavity. Proposed penalties total $73,300.

The inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office found that the company had not developed and used procedures to lock out the baler's power source and also did not provide workers with the required training on those procedures. OSHA's hazardous energy control standard requires that machines be shut down and their power sources locked or tagged out to prevent them from activating while workers are cleaning or performing maintenance on them.

"This is exactly the type of needless and devastating incident that hazardous energy control procedures are designed to prevent," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York. "Proper training and procedures would have equipped this worker with the knowledge to recognize the crushing hazard and prevent it in the first place."

OSHA had cited Metalico Rochester Inc. in March 2010 for similar hazards at a Pittsburgh location. The recurrence of those conditions in this case resulted in citations for two repeat violations. Additionally, one serious violation was cited for not providing safe access to the baler.

"One means by which employers can prevent new and recurring hazards is for them to work proactively and cooperatively with their employees to develop, implement and effectively maintain an illness and injury prevention program," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York.

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