RPS Composites Alabama, Inc., a fiberglass pipe manufacturer based out of Mobile, Alabama, received multiple citations from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations of workplace safety regulations that led directly to an amputation of an employee’s finger. The company now faces projected penalties of $74,833.
Following the reported incident in which an employee suffered a finger amputation, OSHA opened an investigation to determine why this happened and whether it could have been prevented. During the investigation, OSHA inspectors found that the employee’s hand that had a safety glove on it got caught in a pipe-winding machine because there was a lack of machine guarding. Once the gloved hand got caught, the machine pulled the worker’s entire hand into it, which resulted in the amputation.
Upon completion of the inspection, OSHA cited the company with numerous violations of workplace safety regulations. A few of the citations include exposing employees to caught-in hazards stemming from the company’s failure to install sufficient machine guarding structures, failure to properly train employees on controlling energy sources, and failure to monitor the accumulation of combustible dust.
According to Joseph Roesler, Director of the OSHA Mobile area office, “Employers must evaluate their workplace to ensure employees are provided appropriate training, and the equipment they use is properly guarded to prevent amputation hazards.”
Based on the results of the investigation as well as the comments from the Mobile area director, this incident could have been prevented if workplace safety regulations had been followed properly. This is yet another example of a large company with hundred of employees that has disregarded workplace safety regulations and put well-being of the company ahead of the safety of its employees. This is an extremely common theme in the corporate American world, and OSHA as well as other organizations are doing everything in their power to put an end to it.