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Rochester, N.Y., waste collection company's failure to correct safety hazards results in additional $304,200 in fines from OSHA (9/2)

September 2, 2009
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Heberle Disposal Service Inc., a Rochester, N.Y., solid waste collection company, faces an additional $304,200 in fines from OSHA for failing to correct hazards cited during a 2008 inspection and for new and recurring safety hazards at its Alvanar Road worksite.

OSHA had cited the company in June 2008 for 12 serious violations. A 2009 follow-up inspection found that five of the 12 cited hazards remained uncorrected: improper transfer of flammable liquids; not ensuring employees were competent to operate powered industrial trucks; not informing and training employees about the hazardous chemicals in their workplace; allowing spark-producing equipment near flammable paint spray areas; and not determining an employee's medical fitness to wear a respirator. These uncorrected conditions resulted in the issuance of five failure-to-abate notices carrying $288,000 in proposed fines.

"The sizable fines proposed here reflect the gravity of this employer's ongoing failure to correct clear and recognized hazards that could result in burns, crushing injuries or death for its employees," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo, N.Y.

The company also has been issued three repeat citations, with $8,400 in fines, for new hazardous conditions similar to those cited in 2008: an unguarded disc grinder, an improperly adjusted work rest on a bench grinder and an ungrounded flexible power cord.

Two serious citations, with $6,000 in fines, have been issued for improper storage and dispensing of flammable liquids. Finally, the company has been issued one other-than-serious citation and fined $1,800 for not posting the OSHA citations issued from the previous inspection.

"One means by which employers can prevent the occurrence and recurrence of serious workplace hazards is through an effective safety and health management system in which they work with their employees on a continual basis to actively identify, analyze and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Herberle Disposal Service Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the items before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.

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