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US Department of Labor cites Toccoa plastic recycler for violating safety standards after worker sustains fatal injuries from a fall

TOCCOA, GA – With the holiday fast approaching, a 56-year-old worker at a Toccoa plastic processing facility could never have known he would spend Christmas Day in a hospital and die from a head injury after falling more than 6 feet from an elevated platform.

An inspection of the Dec. 21, 2020, incident by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that while Scrap Masters Inc. had installed some fall protection on the platform, it failed to meet federal safety standards. OSHA cited the company for failing to equip stairs and platforms with guardrails to prevent falls.

In addition, OSHA determined that the employer failed to:

Mount and mark fire extinguishers, exposing workers to fire hazards. The employer also did not implement a training program for the use of the extinguishers.
Repair powered industrial trucks and ensure workers wore a seatbelt when operating a forklift.
Provide a training program on powered industrial trucks that consists of formal and practical training, as well as an evaluation of the employee’s performance in the workplace.
Develop and utilize specific procedures for employees performing service and maintenance activities on machines, exposing them to amputation hazards.
Prevent workers from being exposed to occupational noise levels above the allowable time-weighted average.

In all, OSHA cited Scrap Masters with eight serious and five repeat violations, and proposed $164,308 in penalties.

“When employers fail to put safety programs in place, the results can be fatal,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Michael Hejazi in Atlanta-East. “Implementing required safety procedures can mean the difference between a tragic incident and everyone going home safely to their families.”

Scrap Masters Inc. recycles plastic automobile gas tanks and has a sister office in Manchester, Michigan. OSHA  has inspected the company five times in the past five years, with four of the inspections occurring in the Toccoa facility. Of those four inspections, three resulted in citations issued.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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