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Packaging Company Settles After Inflating Worker with Flammable Gas

The production line suddenly turned on and injected him with a flammable propellant gas.

On May 26, 2016, a temporary worker at Dudley, MA-based Shield Packaging was working on a production line that fills aerosol cans with chemicals. According to an OSHA investigation, he was cleaning a gas head on the machine when the production line suddenly turned on and pierced his finger, injecting him with a flammable propellant gas.

According to OSHA, the worker was a temporary employee and not sufficiently trained. As a result, the agency not only hit Shield Packaging with a $295,967 fine, but it also fined the two staffing agencies more than $40,000 combined. OSHA determined that ASI Staffing and Southern Mass Staffing were "jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment."

On Tuesday, OSHA reached an agreement with Shield, ASI, and Southern Mass that will significantly reduce the companies' initial fines.

According to the terms of the settlement, Shield will pay $150,000 in fines, which is nearly half of the initial citation, but it is not without it's caveats. The company will also have to prove that it fixed the initial hazards from the 17 OSHA violations, hire an engineer to approve a new safety interlock installation on the machine, hire a safety consultant to inspect the plant, and create a new workplace safety program.

ASI, which supplies more than half of the workforce at Shield Packaging, lowered it's penalty to $12,471 (down from $24,942). The company is required to implement new health and safety practices and, perhaps more importantly, define the safety responsibilities between the staffing agency and the companies that bring on its temporary employees.

Southern Mass Staffing will also receive a lessened fine of $12,222 (down from $17,460) as long as it receives health and safety training, creates a written safety program, and hires a third-party safety consultant.

We reached out to Shield Packaging which did not have a comment on the situation at this time.

This is IEN Now with David Mantey.

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