Federal authorities hit an Ohio manufacturer with nearly $275,000 in penalties after an investigation of the second debilitating injury to occur at its New Philadelphia, Ohio, plant in less than 18 months.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it identified 13 safety violations involving machine safety procedures at Lauren Manufacturing after a pneumatic bench cutter amputated a 27-year-old employee’s finger as she cut rubber material on June 22, 2016.
Lauren Manufacturing makes molded and extruded polymer solutions and engineered products from organic, silicone, thermoplastics, and other specialty polymers.
Inspectors found Lauren did not properly adjust the machine’s light curtains, safeguards that cut power to a machine when a light field is interrupted, to prevent the worker’s hand from coming in contact with the machine’s operating parts.
“The latest incident continues the company’s history of preventable worker injuries and safety violations,” OSHA said, adding that last January, Lauren was cited for lack of machine safety procedures after a worker’s arm was severely crushed in a hydraulic mold press.
After the amputation injury, OSHA placed Lauren Manufacturing in its Severe Violators Enforcement Program, which will subject the plant to closer regulatory oversight.
“Companies need to evaluate safety procedures to protect employees from injuries on the job,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Particularly, they need to take a hard look at machinery operations and how workers are trained on safety.”
OSHA inspectors found that Lauren Manufacturing allowed temporary workers to operate machinery without proper training, failed to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery from starting while being serviced or cleaned, failed to provide protective footwear and equipment to shield workers from burn injuries, and exposed workers to electrocution risks.