Brooklyn, NY, recycler cited by OSHA for heat-related death
Company failed to train workers about heat hazards
OSHA has cited Cooper Tank & Welding Corp., doing business as Cooper Tank Recycling, for eight serious health and safety violations following the heat-related death of a 64-year-old worker at the Brooklyn recycling facility on 222 Maspeth Ave.
The worker collapsed and later died on July 19, 2013, after working for several hours on a conveyor line, sorting and recycling construction and demolition waste. Workers were exposed to excessive ambient heat stemming from environmental sources and the heat generated by recycling machinery. OSHA's investigation found that the company failed to inform and train workers on the recognition, prevention and treatment of heat-related illnesses and did not provide temperature controls in the work area or implement a work/rest regimen.
According to OSHA, one means of addressing excessive heat hazards is to establish a heat stress management program containing training, procedures for heat acclimatization and what to do in emergencies.
Heat not the only hazard
OSHA found workers exposed to falls of 20 to 40 feet due to unguarded wall openings, missing guardrails and lack of fall protection equipment; electrocution hazards from an ungrounded electrical outlet and power cord; and lacerations and amputations from unguarded grinders. As a result, eight serious citations were issued. The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CooperTankHealth.pdf* and www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CooperTankSafety.pdf*.
Resources to help companies and employees
Information about protecting workers from heat stress is available at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha-niosh-heat-illness-infosheet.pdf.* OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. It is available for download, in English and Spanish, on Android-based platforms and the iPhone at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html.
The company, which faces $40,500 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.