Manufacturer Faces Safety Violations

Friday, January 20, 2012 @ 03:01 PM gHale


Curt Manufacturing LLC is facing eight safety violations, including one willful violation, and $105,000 in fines for allowing workers to continue operating an unguarded hydraulic power press brake after a worker suffered an injury, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said.

An employee’s thumb ended up crushed while he was bending a metal part between the unguarded dies of the brake on July 25. Once at the hospital, doctors had to amputate the thumb. The Eau Claire, WI-based maker of towing components was still operating the unguarded press brake when OSHA initiated an inspection on Aug. 16 based on a referral from the state of Wisconsin. Curt Manufacturing employs 430 workers.

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“Failing to have proper machine guarding in the first place, and to cease operating the power press brake in order to correct safety discrepancies following the injury of a worker, demonstrate a complete lack of regard for employees’ safety and health,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire.

The willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $70,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Five serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $35,000 involve failing to develop, document and use hazardous energy control procedures for machines with multiple energy sources; conduct annual inspections of those procedures; ensure lockout devices were affixed to energy isolating devices by authorized employees; provide point-of-operation guarding on a band saw and tube bender; and provide hand tools that permit easy material handling and prevent workers from placing their hands in machine danger zones. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to provide information to workers voluntarily using respirators and failing to evaluate a potential permit-required confined space. 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 injury.



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