The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 11 citations against dual-certified e-scrap processor COM2 Computers and Technologies LLC, but the company says it is meeting with the agency next week to contest the allegations.
COM2 was certified to both e-Stewards and R2 at its Carol Stream, Illinois facility in the Fall of 2011, using AQA International, approximately seven months before the alleged violations were observed by OSHA. A tip from a COM2 employee alerted the agency to potential unsafe working conditions, prompting a March 30 inspection of the site. The company had earlier been certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and had also been previously investigated by OSHA in 2010.
COM2 is alleged to have failed to implement airborne lead monitoring and mitigation procedures, which include collecting samples from work areas; providing clean protective clothing and changing areas; failing to train workers on lead hazards; and keeping lunchroom surfaces free from lead.
“[We] already have programs and procedures in place to address these concerns and COM2 conducts periodic air sampling to monitor the exposure of airborne pollutants on employees,” says COM2 vice president Saheem Baloch. “Air testing conducted recently by Environment, Inc. on Aug. 15 indicated that all tested parameters were within the OSHA permissible exposure limits. Based on the steps taken by COM2, most of the violations have been abated and others will be abated according to a agreed schedule with OSHA.”
COM2 plans to contest the citations, which carry a potential fine of $67,320. A meeting is scheduled with OSHA for Oct. 16.
Yet to be determined, is what this means for the R2 and e-Stewards certification processes.
“BAN is currently investigating the facts and is in contact with both COM2 and its certifying body, NSF-AQA,” says Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network which administers the e-Stewards certification. “We are closely overseeing the process to ensure the third-party system in place works as it is intended to, including determining what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken.”
When asked for comment on this story, R2 Solutions, which administers the R2 standard, said it is communicating with COM2’s certification body (AQA) to assure appropriate action is taken.