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Mattress recycler cited for potential workplace injuries hazards

Employers in all industries in New York are responsible for maintaining workplace environments that will not jeopardize the health and safety of employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration may inspect any company at any time, and if noncompliance with the agency's safety regulations are found, the business will be penalized. Follow-up visits by OSHA may follow, and if previous safety hazards have not been rectified, the company could be placed on the severe violators list in an effort to prevent workplace injuries.

Sadly, many companies fall into this category, and these employers fail to stop and think about the employees who put their lives on the line every day to enable them to care for their families. A mattress recycler in a neighboring state was inspected by OSHA last year when it was cited for 19 safety violations. When it failed to provide OSHA with proof that all issues had been rectified, the agency revisited the facility.

This time, inspectors found even more violations. These included emergency exits blocked by stacks of mattresses and circuit breakers that were blocked. The door of one emergency exit was reportedly found without a handle. Furthermore, despite the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals at the facility, no written program for hazard communication was established, nor was training in the use of respirators provided. Workers were also exposed to potential electric shock and other hazards because no lockout/tagout device was fitted to a shredder during maintenance.

With so many safety hazards, it would not be uncommon for workers to suffer workplace injuries due to the employer's failure to address safety hazards. New York workers who earn their livings in such unsafe environments may find comfort in knowing that financial help in the form of workers' compensation benefits is available. Death benefits are also available to assist families who have lost loved ones in fatal workplace accidents.

Source: wastedive.com, "Connecticut mattress recycler hit with OSHA fines after failing to correct violations", Cole Rosengren, July 19, 2016

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