Workers at a Gainesville, Ga., paper and plastic recycling facility are at risk of serious injury, federal investigators said, after an inspection of the plant uncovered a multitude of serious safety violations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that the safety violations inside the Nemo Plastics Inc. plant expose workers to the risk of burn and blast injuries, amputation hazards, hearing loss, electrocution, and other threats to their health and well-being.
Nemo Plastics is an Atlanta-based company that receives cardboard and plastic waste and processes the material before shipping it to other recyclers for further processing and reuse.
OSHA said it cited the company for 24 safety and health violations, all but three of which the agency deemed to be serious. Those violations included:
- Exposing workers to explosion and fire hazards by allowing combustible dust to accumulate in the workplace;
- Failure to provide employees with 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 confined spaces that pose special safety risks to workers;
- Exposing workers to amputations hazards due to missing machine guards;
- Failure to develop a noise monitoring program.
Other violations included exposing workers to electrical hazards and other failures involving the mishandling of combustible dust. Proposed penalties for the violations totaled $133,443.
“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.”