OSHA Proposes $338,000 In Penalties For Grand Island Company Over Worker Death


       The U-S Labor Department has issued multiple citations against a Grand Island recycling company where a 20-year-old worker suffered fatal amputations last winter after getting stuck in an industrial cardboard baler.

     OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, cited Mid-Nebraska Disposal was cited for 18 violations related to machine safety, training, fall hazards and permit-required confined space safety requirements

      Two of the violations were listed as willful with 15 deemed serious. and one in the
“other than serious” category.

      The agency has proposed fines and penalties of nearly $338,000 and has placed Mid-America Disposal in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program while also saying inspectors reported an active rodent and vermin infestation in the facility.

     OSHA’s investigation of the February 7th death of Gavin Schwartz of Grand Island found that Schwartz was feeding cardboard waste into the baler when debris jammed the machine. 

     As he tried to remove the stuck cardboard, Schwartz fell into the machine and suffered extensive critical injury. He died the following day at a hospital.

    OSHA says Mid-Nebraska Disposal disregarded federal regulations designed to prevent such tragedies, including failing to ensure that power to the baler was locked out – which would have prevented the operating parts from moving during the jam.

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