Safety Fines for Medical Technology Maker

Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 06:04 PM gHale


After two workers suffered partial amputations of their index fingers in separate incidents in October, federal investigators found numerous machines lacked safety guards at the Holdrege, NE, facility of Becton, Dickinson and Company, a global medical technology company.

The company, widely known as “BD,” is facing $112,700 in fines for one repeat and 12 serious safety violations related to the injuries on Oct. 14 and Oct. 22 and other hazards found, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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Headquartered in New Jersey, BD is a global medical technology company operating in 190 countries with more than 45,000 employees. The company develops, manufactures and sells medical supplies, devices, laboratory instruments, antibodies, reagents and diagnostic products. It serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and consumers.

OSHA previously cited BD for machine hazards at the same facility in April and September 2015.

“In 2015, a total of 52 Nebraska workers suffered preventable amputation injuries,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “OSHA’s common sense safety standards require manufacturers to provide training, safe guards and procedures to prevent workers from coming in contact with the operating parts of a machine. Employers like BD must do more to protect workers from these debilitating injuries.”

OSHA’s investigation found the company failed to provide:
• Gates on platforms and ladder ways to prevent falls
• Proper machine guarding to prevent contact with moving parts
• Protection at a forklift charging station where electrical and fire hazards existed
• An eye-washing station for employees exposed to corrosive materials
• Locking and blocking devices to prevent unexpected machine starts and operation

Since Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report any severe work-related injury – defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye – within 24 hours. The requirement an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, employers nationwide reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations.