Injuries During Maintenance Work

Monday, April 27, 2015 @ 09:04 AM gHale

A 56-year-old woman suffered a broken left wrist and severe lacerations after coming into contact with moving parts of a high-volume Lebanon machine, a machine used to assemble air filters, at American Air Filter Co. Inc. in Atlanta.

It all started when the worker was removing glue from the rails of the machine when she dropped her putty knife. While attempting to retrieve it, she made contact with moving machine parts that were not shut down or turned off properly for maintenance and service, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an investigation in October. As a result, OSHA cited the air filter manufacturer for three safety violations. Proposed penalties are $115,500.

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“Failing to correct known workplace hazards is a sure way to injure workers. Many times these hazards cause death or permanent disabilities,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “American Air Filter was cited recently for similar hazards and still allows workers to operate equipment without proper safety procedures in place.”

OSHA issued two repeated citations to American Air Filter for failure to ensure workers remained protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance and not providing protective guards on equipment to prevent workers from being hit-by or caught between moving machine parts. A repeated violation exists when an employer received previous citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received citations for similar violations in 2014.

One serious violation was for exposing workers to being hit-by and caught-in machines because the employer did not ensure proper written procedures ended up followed while employees serviced and maintained equipment. 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.

American Air Filter, with corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY, is a privately owned manufacturer of clean air products and systems. The company does business as AAF International and has more than 3,000 employees in 22 countries. It employs 100 workers at the Atlanta facility.

The Atlanta site has undergone inspection twice in the last five years, resulting in repeated and serious violations in January 2014 and June 2014.

OSHA proposed American Air Filter end up placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.

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