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Citations settled after employee injected with flammable propellant gas

Citations settled after employee injected with flammable propellant gas

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has settled citations and proposed penalties against a Massachusetts packaging company and two staffing agencies following a May 2016 incident in which an employee was injected with a flammable propellant gas.

OSHA found that Dudley, Massachusetts-based Shield Packaging Co. Inc. failed to implement required procedures to lock out the machine's power sources or train the employee on how to recognize and avoid the hazard, according to an agency statement issued on Wednesday. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Shield Packaging will pay $150,000 in penalties, provide OSHA with documentation that all hazards have been corrected, retain a professional engineer to approve the design and installation of a safety interlock on the machine that injured the worker, retain a qualified safety consultant to perform a comprehensive inspection of the plant and develop a workplace safety and health program. The final amount represents a nearly 50% reduction from the penalties totaling $295,967 initially proposed by the agency. 

Leominster, Massachusetts-based ASI Staffing Group Corp. was initially facing $24,942 in proposed fines, but has agreed to pay $12,471 in penalties, implement comprehensive safety and health measures at all host companies and delineate safety responsibilities between ASI and its host companies, according to the statement. Worcester, Massachusetts-based Southern Mass Staffing was facing $17,460 in proposed penalties, but has agreed to pay a $12,222 fine, attend safety and health training, implement a written safety and health management system, and hire an outside safety consultant.

The packaging company and the two staffing agencies, which provided 86 of the 140 workers at Shield’s facility, were initially facing higher proposed fines after the temporary worker sustained a serious injury and the employer failed to call 911 immediately and notify regulators of the worker’s hospitalization.

"The Shield Packaging Co. Inc., ASI Staffing Group Corp. and Southern Mass Staffing are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers," OSHA Area Director Mary Hoye, said in the statement. "These settlements will help ensure that a comprehensive safety program will be developed to protect all workers — permanent and temporary — from injuries and illnesses."

The companies could not be immediately reached for comment.  



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