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Packing firm faces OSHA fines for failing to call 911

Packing firm faces OSHA fines for failing to call 911

A Massachusetts packaging company and two staffing agencies are facing more than $338,000 in proposed fines from federal workplace safety regulators after a temporary worker sustained a serious injury and the employer failed to call 911 immediately and notify regulators of the worker’s hospitalization. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the temporary worker at Dudley, Massachusetts-based Shield Packaging Co. Inc., which fills, packages and ships aerosol containers, was on a production line in May where a gas head injects chemicals into aerosol cans. The employee, who had not received sufficient training, was cleaning a gas head when the production line activated unexpectedly and the needle pierced his finger and injected him with a propellant gas which inflated his arm, OSHA said Wednesday in a statement. 

Company managers did not call 911 or other emergency services personnel, according to OSHA. The injured employee called 911, but was taken in a private vehicle to a hospital for medical treatment before emergency services arrived and was eventually hospitalized. 

OSHA requires employers to notify the agency within 24 hours whenever an employee is hospitalized, but the agency’s Springfield, Massachusetts office subsequently learned of the incident through a complaint. 

“This delay in contacting and securing professional medical help exposed this worker and other employees to additional bodily harm or potential permanent and disabling injuries,” Mary Hoye, OSHA’s area director for central and western Massachusetts. “At a minimum, Shield Packaging and other employers must have systems in place to ensure that 911 is called immediately after an employee suffers an injury that requires medical care to reduce the delay in receiving professional medical treatment.” 

During a June inspection, OSHA identified hazards such as exposing workers to lacerations, amputation, hearing loss, hazardous chemicals, crushing and struck-by injuries and being unable to exit the plant safely in the event of an emergency. OSHA cited Shield for 17 serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations of workplace health and safety standards and has proposed penalties totaling $295,967, according to the release. 

OSHA also cited two temporary staffing agencies that provide 86 of the 140 workers at Shield’s facility. 

Leominster, Massachusetts-based ASI Staffing Group Corp. was cited for two serious violations for not providing required training to employees exposed to high noise levels and not providing effective training to employees about the hazardous chemicals in their work areas and is facing $24,942 in proposed fines. 

Worcester, Massachusetts-based Southern Mass Staffing was cited for two serious violations for not providing employees with hazardous energy control training and effective training about the hazardous chemicals in their work areas and is facing $17,460 in proposed penalties. 

“Using temporary workers from staffing agencies does not exempt a host employer from its responsibility to comply with OSHA requirements,” Ms. Hoye said. “Nor are the staffing agencies exempt. Staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers.”

The companies could not be immediately reached for comment.



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