IL Manufacturer Faces Safety Fines

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 04:03 PM gHale

Kishwaukee Forge Co. in Cortland, IL, faces $75,200 in fines for eight safety violations – including two willful – after a worker’s thumb ended up amputated Sept. 22 when a forging machine foot pedal, which was not adequately guarded, operated unintentionally, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Kishwaukee Forge has the responsibility of ensuring that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards such as unguarded machinery,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in North Aurora. Kishwaukee Forge is a maker of steel, alloy and stainless forgings.

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The willful violations involve failing to schedule and record inspections of guards and point-of-operation protection devices at frequent and regular intervals for forging machines, and to protect the foot-operated devices of forging machines from unintended operation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Five serious violations involve failing to establish periodic and regular maintenance safety checks for forging machines, train workers in the proper maintenance and inspection of forging machinery and equipment, and provide scale guards of sufficient size or dimension at the backs of forging hammers and presses to hold them in place. 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.

One other-than-serious violation is failing to properly fill out an OSHA 301 form detailing a workplace injury. 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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