Machine Guard Bypass Led to Fatality: OSHA

Thursday, September 8, 2016 @ 03:09 PM gHale


As he hand-polished a 40-inch long metal cylinder, a 36-year-old lathe operator became entangled in the machine’s operating spindle and suffered injuries that led to his death two days later.

An investigation into the incident by federal inspectors found his employer, Cedarburg, WI-based Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. allowed the computer numerical controlled lathe to operate with its safety interlocks bypassed. The interlocks prevent workers from coming in contact with moving machine parts.

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The company is now facing $124,709 in fines for one willful, and one serious violation of machine safety standards as a result of the worker’s death on March 17, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The worker had been with Carlson for two years.

“All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and bypass them to speed production,” said Christine Zortman, area director of OSHA’s Milwaukee office. “This worker’s tragic death was preventable. Carlson Tool & Manufacturing must re-evaluate its overall safety and health management system, including their machine safety programs and procedures to ensure they are effective.”

OSHA’s inspection found the lathe’s door that provided guarding, was open exposing the worker to the machine’s rotating parts. Unrelated to the incident, agency inspectors found the company also failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts.