In March 2018, Liqui-Box Corp., a plastic bag manufacturer based out of Ashland, Ohio, received citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for repeated violations of safety measures involving the machinery in its manufacturing facility. The corporation is currently facing projected penalties of $155,208 for this failure to implement the standards and regulations put in place by OSHA, which the company is required by law to follow.
An investigation was opened by OSHA when an employee of Liqui-Box Corp. suffered a partial amputation of his thumb while attempting to clear a bag-sealing machine of a jam that was causing delays in the production of the plastic bags. The employee’s thumb became stuck in the machine and, after it was too late to take preventive action, the machine clamped down on the thumb, removing most of it from his hand. The subsequent investigation revealed that this incident could have been prevented if typical safety regulations had been followed.
Because of this incident, the company was cited for failure to train employees sufficiently on lockout procedures as well as failure to have annual audits of the company’s safety procedures completed, which are required by OSHA regulations. OSHA has placed Liqui-Box Corp. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
According to Kim Nelson, OSHA Area Office Director for Toledo, “Hundreds of workers are injured every year in manufacturing facilities because employers fail to follow machine safety procedures. This company exposed an employee to serious injury by failing to take the necessary and well-known safety precautions.”
From the day of the issued citation, the company has 15 business days to comply, request a meeting with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations in front of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the workplace they provide their employees is safe and meets the standards and regulations set by OSHA. Failure to do so usually results in accidents such as the one discussed in this article, leading to lawsuits, fines and possible termination of the company. All of these could be prevented if the guidelines were followed.
Thousands of workers suffer serious injuries or are killed on the job as a result of defective industrial products every year. In fact, many times when our lawyers are investigating a worker’s compensation case, they discover a defective industrial product is to blame.