The cost of exposing workers to the risk of accidental workplace amputations and other serious injuries can be high for employers that fail to comply with occupational safety regulations, as one Ohio manufacturer has found.
ArtiFlex Manufacturing, a multiservice manufacturing and engineering firm, is facing $213,411 in penalties after a worker suffered a partial finger amputation on the job at the company’s Wooster, Ohio plant. The accident prompted an investigation of workplace safety conditions, which found that ArtiFlex exposed workers to amputation hazards with improperly guarded machinery.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “investigators determined that the tool and manufacturing servicer failed to adequately guard pinch points on a conveyor belt.”
OSHA said that it cited the company for similar violations at the same manufacturing facility in 2016. Because ArtiFlex failed to take the required action to prevent accidental amputations, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which OSHA launched in June 2010 to better handle noncompliant employers. The program focuses enforcement OSHA resources and efforts on employers “who demonstrate indifference to the health and safety of their employees through willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations of the OSH Act.”
“While the vast majority of employers want to protect their employees, others continue to expose workers to very serious dangers even after receiving citations for hazards causing serious injuries, illnesses, and deaths,” according to OSHA.
“This employer’s repeated failure to adequately guard machine operating parts put workers at risk for serious injuries,” said OSHA Area Office Director Howard Eberts, in Cleveland. “Employers are required to install and maintain machine guards to protect workers from amputation hazards.”