In a recent U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) press release a company was fined heavily and cited for numerous safety violations after a work-related amputation occurred there earlier this year.
Our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers in Greensboro know properly installed safety guards are crucial in preventing life-changing workplace tragedies.
The Ice Industries Grenada facility in Grenada, Miss., was inspected after OSHA was notified about a work-related amputation. The company was issued 26 safety citations with monetary penalties of $113,400. The Grenada plant falls under OSHA's Hazardous Machinery National Emphasis Program, which is designed to target facilities with a high probability of workplace amputation hazards. This facility forms, assembles and stamps heavy metal parts for various industries.
Among the 24 serious violations were:
-Numerous electrical hazards and fall hazards.
-Defective equipment not being taken out of service.
-Exit doors improperly installed and lacking required signage.
-Not having safety guards on equipment.
Additional violations included not anchoring a grinding machine and not conducting inspections of overhead cranes often enough.
A spokesperson for OSHA was critical of the company for not having safety guards on extremely dangerous equipment. He emphasized that employers should be proactive in correcting amputation hazards and not wait for an injury to occur before something is done.
Common in many work environments, workers operate improperly or unguarded machinery. So it comes as no surprise that each year they suffer about 18,000 crushing injuries, amputations, lacerations, abrasions and more than 800 deaths. Often resulting in a permanent disability amputation, which is one of the most crippling and severe types of injury suffered in the workplace.
Safeguards to prevent injuries include:
-Prevent contact - no part of the worker's body should come into contact with a machine's moving parts.
-Secure - safeguards need to be securely in place so workers cannot remove or alter them.
-Protect from falling objects - safeguards must eliminate the possibility of anything falling into the moving parts of the machine
-Create no new hazards - safeguards should not be dangerous themselves. They shouldn't have sharp edges that could cause lacerations, for instance.
-Create no interference - safeguards can't obstruct a worker from doing his or her job. The safeguard should eliminate the risk of injury.
-Allow safe lubrication - safeguards should not interfere with machine lubrication. If they do, an alternate method needs to be established so maintenance workers aren't exposed to the moving parts.
In the news recently was an article reporting that trade groups want OSHA to discard a proposed regulation requiring employers to report on-the-job injuries within eight hours and amputations within 24 hours. Employee unions and OSHA feel this will make the workplace safer. However, employer associations like Printing Industries of America, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Grain and Feed Association and the Retail Industry Leaders Association disagree, expressing their concern of the additional cost of increased reporting.
Employers under the proposed rule would have to notify OSHA within eight hours of:
-All work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations.
-All work-related amputations would need to be reported within 24 hours.
Currently, the law requires employers to notify OSHA within 8 hours of any workplace fatality and any in-patient hospitalizations of three or more workers at a time.
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