Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys have watched as the recycling and green technology industries have grown exponentially.
Nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency reports Americans compost or recycle 82 million tons each year — or about one-third of the nation’s waste.
But with industry growth has come an increased risk of accidents. Recently the Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited Olde Atlanta Recycling with 23 safety and health violations. The citations are the result of numerous safety violations that OSHA alleges occurred at the company’s Cumming facility.
Safety investigators conducted an inspection in November, based on a complaint. Proposed penalties total $69,200.
Among the allegations: failure to provide a program aimed at preventing machine startup during service; not requiring workers to wear seat belts on industrial trucks; transporting compressed air in PVC; inadequate exit signage; and electrical deficiencies.
The government also accuses the company of not doing enough to implement a noise-monitoring program; of not having enough respirator training, and of failure to do enough to prevent laceration hazards.
“This inspection has identified several safety and health deficiencies that need to be addressed by Olde Atlanta Recycling in order to protect its workers,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace.”
OSHA is working across the green jobs industry to promote safety.
Most people instinctively see green jobs as safe, said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels at a recent green jobs workshop. However, that’s just not the case. New chemicals, new manufacturing processes and new technology all combine to present unknown dangers.
OSHA is primarily working green job safety in three core areas: Prevention through design of safe technology, creating standards and procedures, and giving voice to a green generation of employees.
One of the latest issues has been the rise in popularity of green roofs in urban areas throughout the United States. Some of these projects are designed and installed by companies with specific experience in green roof technologies. However, landscapers, roofers and other contractors are leaping into the fray. Workers dealing with green-roof technology face risks of accidents associated with falls; lack or proper personal protective equipment; exposure to silica dust; issues involving cranes, derricks and hoists; powered industrial truck accidents; electric injuries and injuries do to heat/cold stress.
Designing standards and implementing best practices will be critical as the advent and implementation of this technology moves through the 21st Century. As these companies continue to grow, and these manufacturing processes begin to dominate the economic landscape, the safety of tomorrow’s workers will be at least in part be decided by what we are doing to ensure the safety of today’s workforce.
If you or someone you love suffered a work injury in Georgia or needs to file a disability claim in Atlanta or the surrounding areas, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.