Mcgregor Fined $1,340 By Mosh In Worker Death

January 23, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — In a settlement with the state, McGregor Printing Co. has agreed to pay a $1,340 fine in the death of a worker last March.

The amount is $2,015 less than the Maryland Occupational Safety and Healthoffice originally fined the manufacturer of computer and business forms.

Of the five charges against McGregor, the state agreed to drop one, merge two others and reduce fines on the remaining two, saidDavid B. Weisgerber of Westminster, a lawyer for the company.

MOSH had charged McGregor with safety violations after Martin L. Collins, 36, of Westminster died when he fell or was pulled into a shredder he was operating at the plant on New Windsor Road.

Collins, who had worked at McGregor since 1987 and had operated the shredder for about a year, was declared dead at the scene March 12.

No one witnessed the accident, but Collins apparently had walked up the conveyor belt on the shredder to unclog the machine and fell in, MOSH records show.

McGregor Vice President Fred A. Fearing said the company did not admit any negligence by agreeing to pay the fine.

A hearing between company lawyers and MOSH officialshad been scheduled for yesterday morning at MOSH offices in Baltimore, but was canceled because the parties had reached a settlement, said Weisgerber, of the law firm Dulany, Parker and Scott.

McGregor lawyers and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan R. Krasnoff, representing MOSH, reached the settlement last week, Weisgerber said.

McGregor plant superintendent Gene W. Plowman referred questions about the settlement to company lawyers.

Weisgerber said, "The company considers it a reasonable and appropriate fine."

Krasnoff said any comments about the settlement would have to come from a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office. She could not be reached yesterday.

MOSH official Dale A. Valentine visited the plant five times after the accident, his report says.

In the first two counts against McGregor, MOSH charged that the company did not require that the shredder be disengaged from power sources while being inspected, cleaned or serviced and did not have a policy in place for this.

McGregor instituted such a policy after the accident, MOSH records show.

The two counts were merged, and McGregor agreed to pay a $675 fine. Each count had carried a $675 fine.

In the third count, which was dropped, MOSH said McGregor should have had a guard rail on a platform on the shredder where the operator stood to unclog the machine.

The charge wasdropped because the company was able to show that the platform "wasn't a place to stand," Weisgerber said. It was a flange that directed paper into a grinder, he said.

In the fourth and fifth counts, McGregor was charged with allowing employees to smoke in an area containing combustible liquids and with storing combustible liquids inan unsafe area.

Fines on the two counts were reduced to $330 and $335, respectively. MOSH originally had fined McGregor $665 on each count.

Weisgerber said the fact that marijuana was found in Collins' jacket the day he died did not enter into the negotiations.

"These citations had to do with safety issues, not withconduct by an employee," he said.

The shredder is in use, and no problems have been reported since the accident, Weisgerber said.

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