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February 17, 2015

Covanta to be fined $80K for Bristol safety violations

HBJ File Photo Connecticut burns more of its garbage in waste-to-energy facilities like this Covanta one in Preston than any other state.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration has proposed fining the owner of the Bristol trash-to-energy plant $80,100 on Tuesday for 16 violations related to workplace safety.

OSHA wants to fine the New Jersey-based Covanta Energy for failing to determine its employees’ exposure to ash containing toxic materials at the Bristol plant where garbage is burned for energy. OSHA also cited Covanta for letting dust accumulate on walkways, not having proper protective clothing for workers performing electric tests, not having safeguards for employees working in confined spaces, not having an emergency eyewash station, and various fall and mechanical hazards.

Covanta spokesman James Regan said the company had not been informed by OSHA of the violations and heard about them only through the media.

“The health and safety of employees is our first priority at Covanta so we take the assertions in the OSHA press release very seriously,” Regan said. “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,” he said. “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.”

Covanta has 15 days to respond to the compliant.

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