Accidental amputations, a crushed hand, and a series of other debilitating injuries prompted federal safety regulators to hit a Chicago container manufacturer with more than half a million dollars in penalties.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated a BWAY Corporation facility after receiving four separate reports of worker injuries at the manufacturing facility. The investigation resulted in OSHA citing the Atlanta-based company for five repeated violations and five serious safety violations related to machine safety procedures.
OSHA found one worker suffered two broken bones in his hand after it was crushed by a piece of improperly guarded equipment. Three other employees suffered amputations from unguarded chain and sprocket assemblies.
“Lack of machine safety guards and procedures contribute to multiple employee injuries nationwide each year,” said OSHA Area Director Kathy Webb in Chicago. “Companies must continuously monitor their facilities, and review procedures and training to ensure employees are protected from machine hazards.”
The repeated violations OSHA found at the plant were the result of BWAY’s failure to train workers in lockout/tagout procedures that aim to prevent machinery from unexpectedly turning on, and for inadequate machine guarding on a mechanical power press, belts and pulleys, and chains and sprockets.
The serious violations involved the BWAY plant’s failure to prevent machine parts from moving while clearing jams and inadequate machine guarding.
BWAY is no stranger to OSHA violations. In the past five years, 15 workers suffered accidental amputations at just the Chicago facility, which employs about 500 workers, according to OSHA.
The most recent violations finally landed the company in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which concentrates OSHA’s limited resources on overseeing employers that have demonstrated indifference to the health and safety of their employees by committing willful, repeated, and failure-to-abate violations.