Workers Hurt Inside Recycling Machine

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 @ 10:01 AM gHale

Peconic Recycling & Transfer Corp. in Cutchogue, NY, is facing $119,000 in fines for one willful and 11 serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s recycling facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

On July 1, three employees cleaning screens inside a cylindrical screening device called a trommel ended up seriously injured when another employee unexpectedly restarted the machine, OSHA officials said.

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OSHA inspectors found Peconic lacked specific written procedures to lock out machines’ power sources to prevent their unintended startup. The company also lacked a program to manage employees’ work in confined spaces safely and failed to train employees to protect themselves against these hazards.

Peconic also put employees at risk of falls of more than 16 feet through uncovered or unguarded sorting bin openings on a conveyor belt. Additional hazards included lack of proper lock-out tools and procedures; no respiratory protection training, and failing to identify and label confined spaces.

“This incident and serious injuries suffered by three employees were preventable,” said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA’s area director for Long Island. “The company knew programs needed to be in place to address and prevent these hazards, yet did not provide required and adequate safeguards. For the well-being of its employees, Peconic Recycling & Transfer Co. must take prompt and effective corrective action to ensure that this never happens again.”