Workers Exposed To Fire, Explosion Hazards At Atlanta Recycler

An Atlanta-based paper and plastic recycler faces more than $133,000 in penalties after Department of Labor investigators found workers exposed to fire, explosion and machine guarding hazards.

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An Atlanta-based paper and plastic recycler faces more than $133,000 in penalties after Department of Labor investigators found workers exposed to fire, explosion and machine guarding hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations for 21 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violation to Nemo Plastics.

"Nemo Plastics is responsible to assess workplace hazards and ensure measures are taken to protect employees," said William Fulcher, OSHA's area director in the Atlanta-East Office. "Workers should not have to risk their lives or health to provide for themselves and their families. The hazards identified during this complaint inspection are preventable by taking basic safety precautions such as providing personal protective equipment, performing routine housekeeping and guarding machines so that a worker doesn't get injured or killed."

Atlanta-based Nemo Plastics receives waste cardboard and plastics to recycle the material for shipment to further processing companies to be reused.

An inspection of the Gainesville, GA facility was initiated after the agency received a complaint. Serious citations were issued for the following:

  • Exposing workers to explosion and fire hazards by allowing combustible dust to accumulate.
  • Failure to provide employees personal protective clothing.
  • Failure to implement a hazardous energy control program to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
  • Failure to evaluate spaces such as silos to determine if they were permit-required confined spaces.
  • Exposing workers to amputations hazards due to missing machine guards.
  • Failure to develop a noise monitoring program.

The other-than-serious citations included exposing workers to electrical hazards, not providing Appendix D for employees using respirators and failing to post combustible dust warning signs to inform employees of the fire and explosive hazards associated with combustible dust.

OSHA proposed $133,443 in penalties. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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