Enforcement and Inspection

Compliance Failures Lead to Amputations … and Fines

A manufacturer of rigid metal, plastic, and hybrid containers faces more than half a million dollars in proposed penalties after OSHA inspectors responded to four separate reports of injuries at a Chicago plant. The company is based in Atlanta and has 27 facilities about 4,000 employees, including 500 in Chicago.

As a result of its investigations, OSHA cited the employer for five repeat and five serious safety violations of machine safety procedures, and placed it in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. According to OSHA, 15 workers have suffered amputations at the Chicago facility in the past five years.

OSHA found one employee had two broken bones in his hand after it was crushed by a piece of equipment. Three others experienced amputations from unguarded chain and sprocket assembles.  Citations were issued for failure to train workers in lockout/tagout procedures that prevent unintentional machine movement, and inadequate machine guarding on a variety of equipment.

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands and amputations, as in this case, as well as burns and blindness. Notes OSHA, “Any machine part function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injure the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.”