Amputation at OH Plastic Maker

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 @ 02:08 PM gHale

After a worker suffered a partial amputation of his left thumb, Liqui-Box Corporation is facing $42,413 in fines for four health and safety violations at its Ashland, Ohio, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA investigators cited the food plastics manufacturer for three serious and one-other-than serious safety violations. Acting on a complaint after a worker suffered the partial amputation of his left thumb, inspectors began an investigation on June 28 and found violations of OSHA’s machine safety standards.

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The agency determined the manufacturing maintenance employee suffered the injury on Feb. 23, while operating a plastic blow molding press. With a guard door open, the employee reached for a part when the machine’s mold closed on the employee’s left hand. The crushing injuries led to the amputation of the end of the employee’s thumb.

OSHA found the company failed to:
• Report a hospitalization injury to OSHA within 24 hours, as required
• Adequately guard machine operating parts
• Implement machine safety procedures, known as lockout/tag out, to prevent unintentional operation during service and maintenance
• Train workers in lockout/tagout procedures

Liqui-Box manufactures plastic packaging products for the food industry and employs 200 workers in Ashland. Based in Richmond, VA, the company also operates Ohio facilities in Upper Sandusky and Columbus, as well as Sacramento, CA and Lake Wales, FL.

“Each year hundreds of workers suffer amputation and other serious injuries while operating machines in manufacturing facilities,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Liqui-Box could have prevented this worker’s injury by following common sense safety procedures. Once it occurred, the company was obligated to report the incident to OSHA — but failed to do so.”

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