Toccoa Plastic Recycler Cited for Violating Safety Standards after Worker Sustains Fatal Injuries

Toccoa Plastic Recycler Cited for Violating Safety Standards after Worker Sustains Fatal Injuries

Scrap Masters Inc. faces fines and citations for exposing employees to workplace hazards.

On December 12, 2020, with Christmas approaching quickly, a 56-year-old worker at a Toccoa plastic processing facility would have never guessed he would spend Christmas Day in the hospital and die from a head injury after falling more than six feet from an elevated platform. OSHA conducted an inspection on the incident and found that Scrap Masters Inc. did install some fall protection on the platform. However, it still failed to meet federal safety standards. OSHA cited the company for failing to equip stairs with guardrails to prevent falls.

According to a press release, in addition, OSHA determined that the employer failed to:

  • Mount and mark fire extinguishers, exposing workers to fire hazards. The employer also did not implement a training program for the use of the extinguishers.
  • Repair powered industrial trucks and ensure workers wore a seatbelt when operating a forklift.
  • Provide a training program on powered industrial trucks that consists of formal and practical training, as well as an evaluation of the employee's performance in the workplace.  Develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, exposing them to amputation hazards.
  • Prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.

In total, Scrap Masters was cited with eight serious and five repeat violations with a proposed $164,308 in penalties.

“When employers fail to put safety programs in place, the results can be fatal,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi in Atlanta-East. “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”

The company recycles plastic automobile gas tanks and has another office in Manchester, Michigan. OSHA inspected the company five times in the past five years with four of the inspections occurring in the Toccoa facility. Out of the four inspections, three resulted in citations issued. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the OSHRC.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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