Residents living in Denver and its suburbs may be familiar with Atlas Metal & Iron, which recycles unwanted scrap metal and other items brought in by those who live in the area. Last September, a man was fatally injured at work at the recycling plant, which prompted an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The results of that investigation indicate that the man’s death was preventable.
On the day of the accident, the 52-year-old was working on a scrap metal baler. The machine came back on while he was inside it, leading to the injuries that caused his death. OSHA investigators discovered that the machine was not shut down before the worker entered it. Further, protocols required for confined spaces were not followed.
Other violations included inadequate machine guarding, lack of access to proper equipment and combustible dust accumulations. Workers were also exposed to unsafe levels of noise and were not given appropriate eye protection. The respiratory protection program was also deficient.
These violations are considered serious by OSHA, which means that there is a high probability that serious injury or death could result from a particular hazard. Moreover, it was found that the employer should have been aware of these hazards and corrected them, or was aware of the hazards and did nothing to fix them. OSHA found a total of 12 violations and recommended fines in the amount of $58,410. The company must respond in some manner within 15 days of receiving OSHA’s citations.
While the Denver company has the time to respond, the family of the victim fatally injured at work will never spend time with their loved one again. Colorado workers’ compensation benefits may be available to the family. Those benefits could help cover the cost of burying him and provide his family with a compensation package for the loss of his income.
Source: 9news.com, “Death at recycling plant results in $58K fine”, Melanie Towler, March 5, 2015