Ice River, a water bottling plant in Florida, was fined $84,000 by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration following an accident that permanently disabled a contingent worker.
The worker was clearing a jam in a machine used to package cases of bottled water on pallets (a “palletizer”) when the machine started up, pinning him between the elevator and the palletizer conveyor, permanently disabling him. The worker had been on the job for 12 days.
An OSHA investigation found Ice River’s High Springs, Fla., facility allowed workers to bypass two machine safeguards when entering the palletizer’s safety cage. OSHA cited the water-bottle manufacturer for three safety violations, two serious and one willful; fines total $84,000.
Serious. Failure to conduct an annual inspection of lockout/tagout procedures and for not training workers to recognize hazardous machinery or implement proper maintenance controls.
Willful. Failure to ensure workers were protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance.
The plant’s staffing provider, TempForce, a Gainesville, Fla., franchised affiliate of Randstad was also inspected by OSHA; it was not issued any citations.
“OSHA has received far too many reports of temporary workers injured or killed on the job, with some of these incidents occurring in the employee’s first few days at work,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “It is critical that Ice River Springs and TempForce understand OSHA’s newest initiatives to protect temporary workers, which must include shared responsibility by the host employer and the temporary staffing agency. These initiatives include taking effective steps to ensure that each temporary worker is sufficiently trained and monitored to safeguard them from the hazards of their new work environment.”