Personal Injury

Georgia paper company fined after plant worker loses fingers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited McDuffie Box Co. Inc. of Thomson, Georgia, for a number of safety violations following a factory incident that severed the fingers of an employee. Proposed penalties total $47,550.

OSHA’s investigation found that the machine involved in the amputation incident lacked the proper machine guarding required by OSHA to prevent such an accident from occurring. Investigators also found a number of other violations concerning the lack of emergency stops on the factory machines, a lack of forklift training for workers, and inoperable horns on the forklift.

The fines include one for a willful violation of safety, with $42,000 in proposed penalties. Investigators said that McDuffie Box. Co. failed to develop specific lockout and tagout procedures for accidental machine start-up. OSHA found the problem throughout the facility and determined it to be a serious threat to worker safety. A willful citation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with indifference to employee safety and health.

OSHA also hit McDuffie Box Co. with nine serious violations and $5,550 in proposed penalties. Those violations concern employees being exposed to amputation hazards, improper storing of cylinders that pose serious striking hazards, and numerous electrical deficiencies.

“This injury could have been prevented if the employer implemented OSHA standards for lockout/tagout procedures,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Management knew what the standard is and failed to make the required change to protect its workers.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA works to assure positive conditions for American workers by establishing and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance for employers and employees alike.