A worker’s finger amputation on the job proved to be a costly accident for Pennsylvania manufacturer Lloyd Industries, and the way the company handled the situation likely made things worse.
An administrative law judge on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld proposed citations against Lloyd Industries of $822,000 after a worker using a machine without the required safety guards suffered an amputation of three fingers on his hand.
Instead of helping the injured worker, the company, a leading manufacturer of fire dampers and HVAC products, fired the worker immediately after the incident, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Lloyd Industries has a history as a severe violator of safety regulations and remains defiant of federal officials dispatched to its facilities for inspections.
Four months after the accident, OSHA received a safety complaint from the injured worker, which prompted the agency to open an inspection. On Nov. 18, 2014, five days after the inspection started, company owner William P. Lloyd fired a worker he suspected to be a “rat” in the investigation.
According to OSHA, the other Lloyd Industries employee assisted the injured worker and provided him with pictures of the unguarded machine that caused the amputation and other areas of the shop where workers were using unguarded machines. He provided these pictures to the injured man.
In May 2015, OSHA issued Lloyds Industries citations with penalties totaling $822,000. That day, Mr. Lloyd fired the plant’s manager because he believed the manager had cooperated with OSHA and provided damaging information during the inspection.
Federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who voice concerns about safety deficiencies in the workplace or work with government officials investigating a workplace accident. Lloyd’s unlawful termination of its employees violated federal whistleblower provisions designed to protect employees from dangerous work environments and rogue bosses.
History of Flaunting the Law
“Lloyd Industries has a long, unfortunate history of putting employees at risk and defying federal officials. Since 2000, approximately 40 serious injuries including lacerations, crushed, fractured, dislocated and amputated fingers have been recorded,” said Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia. “William P. Lloyd refuses to make his company safe. Whenever someone tries, they are fired.”
Due to the company’s continued disregard for the safety of its employees, the ruling ordering Lloyd’s Industries to pay the proposed penalties in full became final on July 19.