Auto Parts Maker Fined in Amputation

Monday, July 13, 2015 @ 06:07 PM gHale

FIC America Corp., an auto parts manufacturer, decided to ignore machine safety procedures and that led to the loss of a 58-year-old worker’s fingertip, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA inspected FIC America in January at its Carol Stream, IL, facility after the employee suffered the fingertip amputation while servicing a machine. The agency cited the company on July 1, for one repeated, nine serious and one other-than-serious safety violation. Proposed penalties are $89,000.

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Inspectors found FIC failed to use safety procedures and locking devices to prevent the machine from operating during service and maintenance. The worker caught his finger in a pinch point as he serviced the machine, which caused the injury.

“Workers are at risk for debilitating injuries when machine safeguards are ignored,” said Jake Scott, OSHA’s area director for its North Aurora office, which investigated the incident. “Machine hazards are among the most frequently cited by OSHA. Manufacturer-installed guards and industry-standard locking devices protect workers from the dangers of operating machinery. Yet, each year thousands of workers are injured because employers ignore machine hazards and do not train workers on safety procedures.”

Eight of the safety violations noted by inspectors involve failing to protect workers from machinery operating parts. They include the following:
• Lack of machine guards
• Failing to establish procedures, such as using locking devices to prevent unintentional machinery operation during service and maintenance
• Not training workers on machine safety procedures

Inspectors also found the company did not implement safe electrical work practices for employees troubleshooting energized circuits and did not provide electrical protective equipment, including gloves and face protection.

In another inspection at the facility on Jan. 7, OSHA cited FIC for its failure to protect workers from fall hazards by providing landing platforms and clearance in climbing spaces. The company paid a penalty of $7,000 to resolve those safety citations.

FIC manufactures mufflers, exhaust systems and other auto parts, and is a subsidiary of Futaba Industrial Co. Ltd., based in Japan. The company supplies parts to major automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi, Honda and Nissan.