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OSHA investigation leads to $148K in fines for amputation hazard

Employers and employees at manufacturing plants in California would be wise to take note of the substantial fines and penalties they can incur by violating the safety laws of OSHA. A garage door hardware manufacturer, who was the subject of a recent OSHA investigation, has received proposed penalties totaling $147,600. The administration of occupational safety and health of the U.S. Department of Labor cited 16 safety violations. OSHA emphasized amputation hazards as well as hazards regarding powered industrial vehicles.

The manufacturer was cited for one willful violation for the failure to safeguard two mechanical power presses. Willful violations are violations committed with intent. They occur when there is knowledge of the requirements of the law but voluntary disregard thereof and total lack of concern for the safety and health of the employee.

In addition, they were cited for 15 serious violations. These occur when the employer knew or should have been aware that there was a significant chance of serious bodily harm or even death, but chose to ignore it. The citations include the failure to occasionally examine energy control procedures and to provide adequate procedures for energy control. There was also a lack of training with regard to lockout/tagout procedures for the control of unforeseen equipment activation. In general, the citations covered safeguarding, periodic inspections and workers' safety training.

Added violations involved the safety regarding powered industrial vehicles, safe clearance distance around electrical boxes and lockout procedures to avoid contact with live electricity during maintenance. The manufacturers have 15 business days to comply or contest the findings. Manufacturers in California would be wise to improve their knowledge of the safety and health laws, in order to be suitably prepared for an OSHA investigation and avoid potential work injuries.

Source: Insurance Journal, Manufacturer Faces Nearly $148K in Fines for Amputation Hazards in Ohio, No author, Nov. 1, 2013

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