Amputation Hazards at Tower Maker

Monday, September 15, 2014 @ 06:09 PM gHale

Rohn Products LLC is facing $66,700 in fines for 11 serious safety and health violations at its steel tower manufacturing plant in Peoria, IL, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Many of the violations involve exposing workers to amputation and crushing hazards during the daily operation of dangerous machinery.

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“Failing to protect workers from moving machine parts can result in serious injuries, such as amputations, being caught-in and crushed by machinery,” said Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “Employers, such as Rohn Products, who use large industrial machines like this have a responsibility to ensure workers in their plants are trained in and use available safety procedures.”

OSHA opened the inspection March 14, under the National Emphasis Program on Amputations. Amputation hazards, such as lack of machine guarding and failure to develop procedures to prevent machinery from operating during servicing and maintenance, are among the most frequently cited OSHA hazards.

Serious safety violations involved failure to develop and document specific lockout/tagout procedures for machinery and train workers about their importance. Additionally, unguarded mechanical power presses exposed workers to operating machine parts.

OSHA’s inspection found health violations at the facility, where the company failed to establish a respiratory protection program and implement procedures for required respiratory use. Rohn Products did not develop a hearing conservation program to prevent employees from exposure to noise levels that could cause permanent hearing damage.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Rohn Products’ headquarters are in Peoria, and the company has manufacturing plants in the area on Plank Road and Fairholm Avenue that make steel towers for the communications, wind energy, utilities, lighting and security fields. The company employs 34 workers.

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