An Everett, Massachusetts recycling facility was cited by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after two workers were injured last September. OSHA proposed $70,000 in fines for Prolerized New England Co. LLC, which operates publicly as Schnitzer Northeast, for ten purported serious workplace safety violations.
The two workers were allegedly performing maintenance inside of a drum that sorts recycling materials when the drum was set in motion and injured them. After the incident, an OSHA inspection revealed Prolerized New England Co. failed to ensure the machine was deactivated and its power source was locked out prior to allowing employees to climb inside. OSHA also found the company’s lock-out procedures were inadequate and poorly communicated. Additionally, employees were not sufficiently trained on the procedures and the company failed to ensure the procedures were understood by its workers.
According to OSHA, Prolerized New England Co. also failed to protect its employees from a fall hazard, train workers regarding how to perform maintenance in a confined space, and provide employees with a hot work permit for welding inside the machinery. A serious violation is only issued when an employer knew or should have known there was a substantial likelihood that serious physical harm or a fatality would occur. In this case, OSHA proposed the maximum fine for each of the ten violations. OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties, Jeffrey Erskine, stated the unexpected start-up of the drum could have killed workers within seconds.
OSHA was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in an effort to decrease worker fatalities and injuries. The Act provides workers with safety-related rights such as training and information about safety hazards and copies of safety-related test results. United States employers must follow OSHA health and safety standards and provide employees with a work site that is reasonably free of hazards. OSHA is also responsible for determining whether an employer was in compliance with established safety standards after serious workplace accidents.
The Workers’ Compensation Act normally provides an injured worker with the only avenue for recovery in Massachusetts. If you were hurt in a workplace accident, it is a good idea to contact a qualified OSHA and workplace rights violation attorney. A knowledgeable Massachusetts OSHA lawyer can assist you in navigating the workers’ compensation process and filing your claim.
At Pulgini & Norton, LLP, our experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyers understand the uncertainty that can accompany a workplace injury. Our skilled attorneys will discuss your injury, help you file your workers’ compensation claim, gather any required medical documentation, and negotiate reasonable compensation on your behalf. Our law firm assists clients who were hurt in a workplace accident throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To speak with a diligent and hardworking workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Pulgini & Norton through our website or call us today at (888) 344-2046.
Watertown Roofing Company Admits to Workers’ Compensation Fraud, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2012
OSHA Settles with Wilmington Masonry Contractor for $134,000 over Rowes Wharf Safety Violations, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 11, 2012
US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $70,000 in fines against Everett, Mass., recycling company after workers injured by rotating equipment, Region 1 News Release: 12-16-BOS/BOS 2012-008, January 11, 2012