Electrocution Brings Safety Fines

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @ 03:06 PM gHale

Davis Tool & Die faces $77,000 in fines for 17 safety violations after a maintenance worker ended up electrocuted March 6 at the Fenton, MO, tool and die facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Allowing maintenance workers to service energized equipment without taking required safety precautions and providing necessary personal protective equipment is inexcusable. In this incident, such disregard had fatal consequences,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “Davis Tool & Die has a responsibility to protect workers from known hazards at its manufacturing facility. No worker should risk his life for a job.”

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A repeat safety violation was for failing to have point of operation guards on three CNC milling machines. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The firm faced the same violation in January 2012 at Poplar Bluff Tool & Die, under the same ownership.

Nine serious safety violations relate directly to the electrocution, which occurred when the maintenance worker came in contact with exposed energized parts while examining malfunctioning electrical heating components on the heat treat oven.

Violations include failing to evaluate the need for personal protective equipment and insulated tools and provide them as necessary; modifying the oven wiring of heating elements from the manufacturer’s design; lack of safety-related work practices and worker training in those concepts; failing to de-energize parts and verify de-energization prior to maintenance; failing to ensure worker qualifications for performed duties; and allowing conductive articles of jewelry or clothing to be worn near electrical components.

Seven additional safety violations involve lack of machine guarding and an emergency eyewashing station for workers exposed to corrosive materials, as well as procedures to control the use of hazardous energy.

The company also failed to install electrical equipment properly, periodically test electrical protective equipment and evaluate forklift truck drivers at least once every three years. 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.

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