LEMON GROVE, Calif., July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Friday issued seven citations totaling $111,935 in penalties to Southern California-based collection and recycling company with a history of safety violations and worker injury.
“EDCO Waste and Recycling Services Inc. failed to provide vital safety training, leading to dangerous accidents and serious injury,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. “Proper workplace safety training is critical because it reduces severity of harm following accidents and, more importantly, prevents accidents from occurring in the first place.”
Cal/OSHA’s citations include a Serious and Willful violation and Serious Accident-Related violations that resulted in a severe injury to a worker at EDCO. Cal/OSHA had previously cited this company for the same problems that led to this recent worker injury.
“EDCO violated critical safety standards requiring that machinery be de-energized and equipment locked down to prevent movement during maintenance work,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess. “EDCO was given prior orders to fix these serious hazards and failed to do so, which resulted in escalating the type of citation to willful.”
These new citations resulted from an accident and serious worker injury on December 31, 2011 while workers were connecting a hydraulic cylinder to the packer device in a garbage truck. The hydraulic system was activated to extend the cylinder outward to be connected to the packer, which compacts the trash that has been dumped into the truck. The injured worker was standing on the packer unit inside the truck body when the cylinder struck it, causing him to fall into an area between the packer and the truck body wall where he sustained crushing injuries.
Cal/OSHA had previously conducted an inspection in October 2011 at the Lemon Grove facility following a refuse truck accident resulting in severe injuries to a mechanic. Cal/OSHA found that EDCO had not ensured that control levers were blocked as required, resulting in severe injuries to a mechanic. EDCO appealed Cal/OSHA’s findings and citations. Following the December accident, Cal/OSHA successfully petitioned the Appeals Board to raise a citation category from Serious Accident Related to Willful. In 2003, EDCO also received a serious citation for not having employees use lockable controls on a compacter and failing to have adequate written safety procedures.
Cal/OSHA’s latest citations include a Serious Willful violation issued because EDCO did not correct a prior violation for not conducting periodic inspections to evaluate the effectiveness of their written safety procedures. A Willful violation is one where the employer committed an intentional and known violation.
“This preventable accident caused a devastating worker injury. EDCO, on full notice, still failed to provide adequate training on their job hazards and failed to have good written procedures and conduct internal inspections to ensure worker safety,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess.
Cal/OSHA issued serious accident- related citations to EDCO for their failure to guard the pinch point in the garbage truck, failure to have a hazardous energy control plan, and failure to implement procedures to control or lock movement of the equipment while workers are performing maintenance or repairs. Two general citations and one regulatory citation were also issued for not establishing an injury illness prevention program and a heat illness prevention program and for not developing or training to written operating rules for mobile collection/compactions equipment.
A willful violation is issued when an employer either commits an intentional violation and is aware that it violates a safety law, or when an employer is aware that an unsafe or hazardous condition exists and makes no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard. A serious violation is cited when there is a reasonable possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation. A general violation is one in which an accident or illness may result but would probably not cause death or serious harm.
EDCO Waste and Recycling Services Inc. has satellite facilities serving residential and commercial customers in Southern California. The corporate headquarters are in Lemon Grove.
Employers and employees can learn more about Cal/OSHA regulations and how to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses by checking the DIR website. For more information on Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention requirements and training materials, please visit Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness web page, or the “Water Rest Shade” campaign site at www.99calor.org/campaign.
Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Unit (800-963-9424) provides free information and training on occupational safety and health hazards and ways to protect workers from heat illness, confined space hazards and other workplace hazards. Consultation Services’ offices throughout the state are posted on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Workers with work-related questions or complaints, including heat illness, may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.