Safety Fines for IL Dryer Maker

Monday, May 4, 2015 @ 07:05 PM gHale

A Chicago-based manufacturer ignored safety requirements and put workers at risk for debilitating injuries and is now facing $171,000 in fines, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA inspected industrial dryer maker, Chicago Dryer Co., in October and investigators found one willful and 20 serious safety and health violations, including exposing workers to struck-by hazards because the company used damaged crane slings to carry 3,000-pound cylinders.

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“When a press brake lacks safety features, one slip and a worker can lose a hand,” said Angeline Loftus, area director of OSHA’s Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. “OSHA found multiple serious violations in this industrial setting. Chicago Dryer needs to address the use of damaged equipment immediately and lack of training that puts workers at risk for serious and potentially fatal injuries.”

Responding to an employee complaint, agency investigators saw workers endangered by machine hazards during the manufacturing process. Employees suffered exposure to unguarded press brakes, resulting in one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Chicago Dryer did not remove damaged crane slings and powered industrial vehicles from use; exposed workers to fall hazards because railings were not installed on open stairs and working surfaces; and failed to develop machine-specific procedures for controlling unintentional machine operation during service and maintenance, including affixing locking devices. Additionally, exit routes ended up blocked and exit doors locked. Electrical safety hazards and lack of training were an issue.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

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