By Paul Ploumis
ATLANTA (Scrap Monster): Dalton, Georgia-based Columbia Recycling Corp. has reached an agreement with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authorities to pay $250K in fines. The agency had proposed fines amounting to $317,814 for repeated on-site violations at its 2410, S. Dixie Highway facility. The citations included five repeated, three serious and one other-than-series safety and health violations. The agency had carried out an investigation of the site in April this year, following a complaint.
OSHA spokesperson Michael D’Aquino in an email noted that the Columbia Recycling Corp. management has agreed to pay $250,000 in fines. Further, the company has also agreed to utilize OSHA Training facilities to ensure that the current and future safety managers of the company obtain necessary certification. The company has to align with the certification requirements not later than Jan 31, 2018. Meantime, the company management has not yet commented on the settlement.
According to the first serious violation issued against the company, employees in the laboratory of Plant 2 were exposed to a struck-by hazard from a compressed nitrogen cylinder that was not secured to prevent it from falling or rolling. The loose cylinder was placed between the laboratory doorway and two secured nitrogen gas cylinders which did not provide adequate protection or stability for the compressed gas cylinder.
The second serious citation notes that the employer failed to ensure that employees operating forklifts at the facility were competent enough to operate the powered industrial trucks. The third serious violation states that sufficient access and working space was not provided and maintained.
The employer failed to administer a hearing conservation program for employees exposed to noise levels above the permitted limits during extrusion activities. On different sampling periods on April 19, 2016, the employees working in the vicinity of Line 1 were found exposed to continuous noise. Also, employees working in the vicinity of Line 2 were found exposed to continuous high noise levels. In Plant 2, the employer had failed to ensure that the data plate of forklift equipment was legible for employees, thereby exposing the employees working in that area to crush-by hazards.
In addition, the company had failed to provide adequate protection to an above ground liquefied petroleum gas storage tank located on the east side of Building 2 from possible physical damage from motor vehicles. The employer did not maintain specific procedures for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing machines to control hazardous energy. The inspection team had noticed an employee installing a roller chain on the pulley of forklift equipment when he was exposed to an amputation hazard to his right hand index and middle finger. Also, the storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gas fuel was not in compliance with NFPA regulations.
This is not the first time that Columbia Recycling has been fined by OSHA authorities. The company was fined $41,400 for serious safety violations that had caused fire at its Chattanooga Avenue facility, which in turn had led to death of one employee.