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Willful Exposure to Machine Hazards


OSHA issued 57 citations for safety violations to an Ohio auto parts manufacturer last month, proposing the company pay more than $3.42 million in total fines for its failure to disconnect machinery from a power supply and prevent sudden movement before maintenance and service. The company also failed to train workers in how to operate machine presses safely and to service and maintain them.

OSHA began inspections after two workers suffered severe injuries in separate incidents in January and February of this year.

  • In January, a worker suffered multiple lacerations and a fractured elbow while removing scrap from a blanking press after operating machine parts caught his arm. Safety light curtains were not operating correctly at the time. OSHA’s investigation found a supervisor had identified the safety issue two hours prior to the injury, and failed to place the equipment out of service.
  • In February, a worker had to undergo surgical amputation of his arm after his arm was crushed as he removed scrap on a robotic press line. Investigators again found that the machine’s danger zone did not have adequate safe guards to prevent employees from coming in contact with operating machine parts.

When companies prioritize production and profit over the health and safety of their workforce, too often it is the workers that pay the price… OSHA’s investigation found the company’s leadership failed in its obligation to properly train workers for the jobs they were hired to do, and created a culture that routinely tolerated willful and serious safety violations” – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

The company has a high rate of employee turnover, and has an extensive history of safety violations dating back 20 years. In total, the agency has issued 118 citations that have addressed numerous machine hazards. The company has repeatedly assured OSHA that it would address the unsafe conditions.

The company also ignored its own corporate safety manuals and its safety manager’s warnings that workers lacked the training to protect themselves” – Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor of Occupational Safety and Health

The company did not prevent machines from unintentionally starting when workers were performing service and maintenance such as clearing scrap, and also failed to provide adequate safety mechanisms such as guards, locking devices and other procedures to prevent contact with those moving parts. Furthermore, the agency found multiple electrical safety violations including lack of personal protective equipment, worker exposed to “live” electrical parts, and use of damaged equipment.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, report workplace injuries or fatalities, or report situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or call The Integrated Group for assistance, guidance on OSHA regulations and incident response at 425-822-8500.

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