Federal safety regulators hit a Dallas, Texas-area manufacturing unit of Johns Manville with nearly $50,000 in penalties for violations they found led to an employee having his whole hand amputated by an improperly guarded machine.
Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Johns Manville is a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that manufactures residential and commercial insulation, commercial roofing, mechanical insulation, and materials for other manufacturers’ products and applications. The company’s Cleburne, Texas, plant employs approximately 400 workers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said that the Johns Manville plant in Cleburne, Texas, received citations for two repeat and three serious violations stemming from safety deficiencies that exposed workers to physical injury. The citations were the result of an inspection triggered by the accidental amputation.
“Johns Manville’s flawed procedures to control hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guards ultimately led to an amputation,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “The company should have evaluated its lockout/tagout program and provided proper machine guarding.”
OSHA regulations require employers to take specific safety measures to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and unable to start up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. Federal rules also require that machines are properly guarded to prevent injury and employees properly trained on the safe use of machines.
These safety procedures include placing a lock on the power source of the machine and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated until the warning is removed, as well as identifying the employee who has the key to the lock.
“It is simply unacceptable that a 34-year-old father of four young children suffered a gruesome injury, and has had life forever changed by an incident that was preventable,” Mr. Rector said.