Feb. 24, 2016
CLEVELAND – Federal inspectors found toxic exposure to aniline that sent a 56-year-old service technician to the hospital occurred because adequate safeguards were not in place.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration into the Aug. 18, 2015, hospitalization led the agency to cite Heritage Thermal Services for four repeat and one serious safety violation on Feb. 18.
In 2012, three other workers at Heritage, a hazardous waste incineration facility in Liverpool, became ill after unsafe aniline exposure and were hospitalized. Exposure to aniline can cause headache, weakness, confusion, skin lesions and cancer.
“This man suffered needlessly because Heritage Thermal again failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment to its workers tasked with toxic chemical disposal,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers must provide respiratory protection, protective clothing, adequate ventilation, and ensure their employees are trained in the procedures to minimize exposure to toxins in the workplace. ”
Investigators determined the technician, with about 20 years of experience, was pumping several different hazardous wastes from drums into an outdoor kiln for incineration when he came disorientated. He was transported to the hospital for treatment.
OSHA cited Heritage Thermal Services for failing to:
Monitor work areas and evaluate the effectiveness of respirators.
Implement a decontamination procedure.
Provide adequate personal protective equipment and ensure it was used by employees.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $62,370. View current citations here*.
Heritage Thermal Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Cleveland, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Cleveland office at 216-447-4194.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.