The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc. for 18 violations, amounting to $159,400 in fines.
The inspection was a result of an accident where an employee's left hand was amputated by a pop-up saw while he was cutting wood. The incident occurred when another employee accidentally stepped on the machine's unguarded foot pedal, which activated the saw.
The OSHA area director stated, "This is exactly the type of incident and injury that machine guarding is designed to prevent. Had the foot pedal been properly guarded, this injury would not have occurred. Compounding this hazard is the fact that the employer was aware and did not correct it."
Two willful citations were issued for the unguarded foot pedal and for failing to secure the saw to the floor. These two citations carry a fine of $88,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Sixteen serious citations were also issued. These involve failing to: establish a hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout program; provide energy control equipment and training to workers; lack of a hazard communication program and failing to train employees on chemical and wood dust hazards; an exit door that was welded shut; various electrical hazards; untrained powered industrial truck operators; failure to keep the workplace clean, orderly and sanitary; floor not maintained in good repair; and inadequate guarding of moving machine parts.
The OSHA area director also stated, "To prevent incidents like this from occurring, employers should implement an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they will work with their employees to identify, address and eliminate hazards before they harm workers."
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers' compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
OSHA fines American Recycling & Manufacturing $159,400, Rochester Business Journal, June 5, 2013
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Rochester, NY, packaging manufacturer for willful and serious hazards following amputation: American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc. faces nearly $160,000 in fines, osha.gov, June 4, 2013