For the third time since the summer of 2015, a worker employed by a Chicago metal and plastic container manufacturer has suffered an amputation injury on the job. In each incident, federal safety investigators found that the injury could have been prevented had the company complied with federal safety standards.
On Dec. 27, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited BWay Corp. for repeat and serious safety violations following its investigation of the most recent amputation to occur at the factory. Based in Atlanta, BWay specializes in the production of metal and plastic containers for product packaging and has 28 facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.
On Sept. 10, 2016, a 52-year-old temporary worker at the Chicago BWay plant was attempting to clear a jam from a machine when the machine suddenly powered on, amputating part of his middle finger.
OSHA investigators determined that the injury occurred on the same type of machine on which a 65-year-old Chicago BWay employee suffered an amputation injury in August 2015. In that case, the worker lost the top of her right middle finger when it was caught in a machine.
In October 2015, a 56-year-old employee suffered the loss of the tip of his right index finger when cleaning a machine at the same facility.
OSHA authorities determined in the most recent investigation that BWay installed the machine’s safety guards improperly, thereby exposing workers to amputation hazards. They also found the company did not instruct workers properly in procedures to prevent machine movement during service and maintenance, a process known as lockout/tag out.
“Each year, manufacturing workers suffer hundreds of preventable injuries because employers fail to install safety guards properly and train workers in machine safety procedures,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City, Ill. “BWay Corp. needs to review its machines’ operations corporate-wide immediately to ensure they have adequate and properly installed safety guards. They must also be sure that workers are using lockout/tag out procedures to prevent them from coming in contact with operating parts.”
OSHA proposed that BWay pay $81,062 in fines for the safety violations.