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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

OSHA Cites NJ Recycling Company for Safety Violations Following Worker Amputation

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lieze Associates, doing business as Eagle Recycling of New Jersey, with one repeat and three serious safety violations after a worker's fingers were amputated in December 2012 at the company's North Bergen recycling transfer station. OSHA's investigation was initiated in response to a referral by the North Bergen Police Department and has resulted in proposed fines of $70,070.

"This incident should have been prevented by simply locking out the machine's power source," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Eagle Recycling of New Jersey's continued disregard for complying with OSHA safety standards will not be tolerated."

OSHA inspectors found that procedures were not used to lock out the energy source of a conveyor belt system while the worker was clearing a cardboard jam, which resulted in the amputation. OSHA cited the company with a serious violation for failing to implement a lockout/tagout program to control potentially hazardous energy. Another violation includes failing to ensure a ladder placed with the two top rails was supported and placed with secure footing. 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.

The repeat violation was cited for exposing workers to 8-foot fall hazards while working on unguarded platforms. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcements states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2009 and 2010.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Parsippany, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.