Amputation Leads to Safety Fines

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 @ 02:03 PM gHale


Smithville Manufacturing Co. is facing $65,800 in fines for 21 health and safety violations, including one willful, after receiving a complaint that a worker’s finger ended up amputated at its Wooster, OH, facility by an unguarded press machine, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The willful violation, discovered during the December inspection, came from failing to ensure point of operation guards were in place on mechanical power presses at the stamping facility, which does short-run productions of automotive parts. A willful violation comes from intentionally knowing or voluntarily disregarding the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

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“Smithville Manufacturing has a responsibility to follow all safety guidelines, including the use of properly adjusted and adequate machine guarding to protect workers from injuries, such as amputations,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers must recognize the hazards that exist in their workplaces and develop safety and health policies and procedures to protect workers on the job.”

In addition to that citation, there were 18 serious violations cited, nine of which involve lack of or improperly adjusted guarding on equipment, such as shears, grinders, screw machines and drill and power presses. Other violations involve failing to establish and train workers on energy control procedures; ensure employees lock out equipment prior to conducting maintenance or service; train workers on the use of fire extinguishers; establish die setting procedures; conduct weekly press inspections; develop a written hazard communication program; and train workers on the hazards of chemicals in the workplace.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious health violations were for failing to develop a written respiratory protection program and blood-borne pathogens program. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.



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