Ice Plant Fined after Amputation

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 @ 12:12 PM gHale

Seaford Ice Inc. is facing $77,000 in fines after an employee fell into an unguarded conveyer opening while breaking ice, which resulted in the amputation of both of his legs below the knee, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Following the May incident, OSHA cited the Seaford, DE-based company with one willful, five serious and three other-than-serious violations. Seaford Ice is an ice manufacturer and distributor.

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The agency cited the willful violation for lack of machine guarding. Electrical hazards, unguarded machines, hazard communication violations and the absence of a lockout/tagout program, which prevents the accidental start-up or movement of machinery, were among the serious violations. The other-than-serious violations involved lack of a personal protective equipment assessment and electrical violations.

This was the second time a worker suffered an amputation due to lack of machine guarding at the company’s Seaford plant. In 2012, an employee had a foot amputated after it touched a conveyor. OSHA determined the conveyor openings were too large and its guard inadequate.

“Seaford Ice disregarded employee safety by not ensuring a proper guard on the conveyor belt, leading to a preventable amputation. This is unacceptable considering the company knew after the 2012 incident that the machine lacked safeguards to protect workers. Despite this warning, Seaford chose to expose workers to hazards, and a second employee was needlessly injured,” said Erin G. Patterson, OSHA’s area director in Wilmington. “When employers fail to provide a safe and healthful workplace, they will be held accountable.”