ST. LOUIS – A workplace safety investigation following a worker’s fatal crushing injuries at a St. Louis recycling facility on Oct. 26, 2021, alleges the company failed to erect guards or barriers to prevent workers from falling into a paper baler and de-energize the conveyor and baler while the worker cleared a jam.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the worker was sorting and loading paper products onto the in-feed conveyor of a paper baler when materials jammed the chute and stopped the conveyor. The worker walked up the conveyor to unjam the materials and fell down the chute and into the paper baler.
OSHA issued one willful, 21 serious and two other-than-serious safety violations to Central Paper Stock Inc. and proposed penalties of $260,508. The company was also placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“A worker’s life might have been saved had safe operating procedures been followed. No worker should ever be exposed to falling into dangerous equipment or being struck by equipment that cycles during service and maintenance,” said OSHA Area Director Bill McDonald in St. Louis. “The numerous safety OSHA violations cited in this facility must be addressed to prevent a similar tragedy.”
OSHA also cited Central Paper Stock for violations involving walking-working surfaces, personal protective equipment, potential explosive dust accumulation, permit-required confined spaces, sanitary conditions, electrical wiring, fire extinguisher training and hazard communication.
The agency’s fall protection standards offer safety information about hazards and proper safety procedures for walking-working surfaces.
Central Paper Stock Inc. is a materials recovery facility that purchases, sorts and bales over 20,000 tons of paper and plastic goods annually.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Learn more about OSHA.