A Bristol trash-to-energy plant has been fined a proposed penalty of $80,100 after an inspection following a complaint about workplace safety and health violations, according to a news release from the United States Department of Labor.
OSHA began inspecting Covanta Energy Bristol, Inc. on Oct. 1 after receiving a complaint.
“Covanta Energy Bristol Inc. needlessly exposed its employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, falls, slips and trips, crushing, being trapped or overcome in a confined space, eye injuries and cancer, lung or kidney damage,” Terence McEvily, OSHA’s acting area director in Hartford, said in a statement. “It must take effective steps to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again."
OSHA cited the plant for 16 "serious violations of workplace safety and health standards."
"The health and safety of employees is our first priority at Covanta so we take the assertions in the OSHA press release very seriously. We have not received the citations from OSHA yet but will review them closely when received. We look forward to working cooperatively with OSHA to gain a thorough understanding of the concerns," a statement from Covanta says.
OSHA inspectors found "combustible dust" on "ledges, conduits, floors, guardrails, work platforms and catwalks" and said that the plant failed "to determine employees’ exposure level to ash containing toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic;" didn't provide adequate training and "protective and protective clothing for an employee performing testing on live electrical parts;" had "inadequate safeguards for employees working in confined spaces;" and did not provide enough eyewash for "employees working with batteries." The plant also had "fall, fork truck, air pressure and mechanical hazards," according to the OSHA inspection.
The plant has 15 days to comply, meet with McEvily or contest the citations in front of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Covanta responded to the allegations in the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"The health and safety of employees is our first priority at Covanta so we take the assertions in the OSHA press release very seriously. We have not received the citations from OSHA yet but will review them closely when received. We look forward to working cooperatively with OSHA to gain a thorough understanding of the concerns.
"At Covanta, comprehensive health and safety programs have been a cornerstone of our success and we strive for continuous improvement. We appreciate the longstanding working relationship we have had with OSHA as a leader in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and look forward to resolving these issues."
OSHA has a toll-free hotline members of the public can call to report workplace safety and health violations or ask questions at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or the Hartford area office at 860-240-3152.