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Ignoring operating procedures can result in OSHA investigation

It is important for a company to put operating procedures in place in order for workers to avoid confusion and for the business to run efficiently. At California facilities utilizing heavy machinery, this is particularly important in order to maintain workplace safety. Failure to do so can cause a worker to be injured or even killed, which could result in an OSHA investigation.

It looks like one out-of-state employer may be facing this type of situation following a recent accident one morning in mid-March. Apparently, a worker had failed to follow workplace procedures for the Blendbox, which is a large machine that feeds plastic via a conveyor belt. The machine has a roller with hooks. For some reason, the worker ended up climbing onto the roller bar, which resulted in him being dragged through the Blendbox.

At the time of the incident, the facility was in transition between shifts, which meant the off-going shift workers were cleaning in preparation of the end of the shift. Usually, only the front of the machine is cleaned with an air hose. This is done to clear loose remnants from the roller. However, for some reason, the man went into the Blendbox without permission to clean the area, resulting in him being pulled into the machine and killed.

Law enforcement is now investigating the incident in order to determine what may have happened. It is likely, as in most fatal workplace accidents in California, that an OSHA investigation will also commence. OSHA investigators will be looking to see if any safety violations played a role in causing the accident. Findings of violations can result in citations and fines, which can be financially detrimental to an employer.

Source: Cartersville, Ga. Patch, "Man Killed in Workplace Accident Identified", Kristal Dixon, March 18, 2015

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