California recycling company has a history of workplace accidents

A California company is under investigation after a recent accident. The company has a decade-long history of safety violations.

In March 2014, a propane tank exploded at a California-based recycling company. The result was that the tank flew into a car where a man was resting. This recent incident at Alco Metal & Iron Co. is concerning, according to safety advocates, as there have been several safety mishaps at the facility in the past decade.

The recycling plant has been charged six times over the past several years for serious safety violations. As a result, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has launched an investigation concerning the recent mishap at the plant. In the recent disaster, a 61-year-old man, sitting in his vehicle, barely escaped injury; however, the incident raises many questions.

Alco has endured several problems in the past. For example, in September 2012, an employee from the San Leandro facility lost part of his hand after using a machine that severs metal, according to Cal/OSHA documents. Investigations after that incident later revealed that employees did not get sufficient training on the equipment, which was unmarked. Cal/OSHA also uncovered several health and safety code violations.

Moreover, another employee of the company was seriously injured in 2004 in Vallejo after being knocked down by a 9,000-pound steel beam that dropped from a crane above. In that matter, the worker experienced spinal fractures and a hernia. A safety exploration after this mishap found that the company had no employee trainings concerning overhead cranes.

While these aforementioned accidents are officially on the books, two other company incidents are under review, including a violation from 2011 wherein employees operated abrasive wheels without the safeguards of protection hoods. Such hoods protect employees' hands and eyes from scattered fragments. There were other safety violations related to machinery that lacked appropriate emergency shut-offs. Cal/OSHA notes that the investigation pursuant to the recent March incident could take several months.

At this time, Alco has had $33,000 worth of violations over the past decade, but has paid very little after appealing many of the safety issues. Nevertheless, a facility with a history of work safety violations is somewhat concerning.

Workers' compensation in California

Accidents happen at the workplace - especially within industries where risks and hazards are frequent. Nevertheless, when a company has a history of safety shortcomings, this is alarming. It is also very dangerous, as workplace accidents often brew in employment environments that disregard safety. At this time, Alco employs more than 200 people, according to its website.

The good news is that when a workplace accident occurs, the law carries legal protections for injured employees. Most notably, employees injured on the job are entitled to recovery called workers' compensation, which aids individuals financially after a workplace accident. Many incidents involve healing time - often away from work. During that period, injured individuals can retain benefits, which help support important needs as workers get back on track.

To learn more about recovery options after a workplace accident, retain a lawyer who specializes in this practice area. Injured workers must be proactive about recovery, as there are very stringent deadlines under the law and many difficult hurdles - especially when it comes to insurance companies. A lawyer can help.

Keywords: accident, workers' compensation, California, safety