Bluffton, IN – Valero Renewable Fuels was the site of a workplace death this month caused by a lockout accident. A 42-year-old contractor was found dead at the plant, his body trapped in a piece of machinery.
Ryan West became trapped in machinery while working as a contractor at the Valero Renewable Fuels ethanol plant in Bluffton, IN. Local police have stated that Valero employees called 911 saying they couldn’t find West and feared he had been in an accident. When emergency responders arrived, they found his body caught in a piece of equipment. West was employed by Diversified Industrial Services, a grain equipment supplier, and was performing maintenance work on a large auger.
Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in worker injury. Lockout/Tagout is also known as LOTO or Control of Hazardous Energy. These terms refers to the same safety standard and procedures and practices designed to prevent the unexpected start up or movement of equipment, especially crucial during maintenance or service work.
A study conducted by the United Auto Workers revealed that 20% of fatalities among their membership were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control or lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. An estimated 3 million workers service equipment as a part of their work duties. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard is said to prevent approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year at facilities across the US.
Indiana’s arm of OSHA is investigating this latest incident, while local news media are reporting a history of safety violations at the ethanol plant. Earlier this year, Valero’s Bluffton plant was fined for “serious safety violations” involving machinery safety and lockout/tagout.
Tragedies such as this lockout accident in Indiana are preventable. Please contact a Lockout Specialist at Martin Technical today to discuss how we can help to make your plant or facility better, safer, and more efficient with the support of our suite of Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessment, Training, Machine Safety, and Safety Consulting services.
Strattanville, PA – A 2018 amputation due to machine guarding failures at a PA modular home manufacturing facility lead to an OSHA investigation which revealed numerous workplace safety violation and resulted in a staggering $687,650 in penalties.
On the topic of machine guarding failures, OSHA’s local Area Office Director stated that “moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries if they are not safeguarded…Employers’ use of machine guards and devices is not optional. Employers are legally responsible for ensuring that machine operators are protected.”
In the investigation triggered by the November 2018 amputation, OSHA documented Champion Modular employees’ exposure to numerous workplace safety hazards. Some of the machine guarding failures included damaged plastic guards on a table saw which exposed employees to the saw blade, work rests on grinding machinery not adjusted properly, a grinder was being used without the proper guard, and a hand-fed circular ripsaw found without a spreader and missing a kickback device.
Hazards caused by combustible dust were also evident at the Champion Modular facility. Combustible dust was found to have accumulated in the higher areas of the facility, which posed an increased risk of fire. Additionally, a dust collector that was not equipped with devices and systems to prevent fire was noted as having the potential to expose employees to fire, burn, and deflagration hazards.
Violations of federal Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) machine safety standards was another a part of the citations and penalties OSHA issued. OSHA inspectors found equipment and machinery at the manufacturing facility that was missing lockout/tagout procedures altogether. Additionally, Champion Modular allegedly failed to perform periodic inspections of machine servicing and equipment maintenance procedures.
OSHA investigators also noted electrical safety violations and hazards at the PA manufacturing facility. Electrical equipment was found installed and/or in use outside of the intended purpose, not in compliance with instructions. Inspectors noted duct tape and electrical tape being used to cover up and hold together a damaged control pendant.
Violations and fines of this magnitude are avoidable through conscientious workplace safety programs – Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety and efficiency services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer and more efficient. Our experts simplify complex workplace safety practices by applying real-world solutions for Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessments, Training, Machine Safety & Safety Consulting Services.
New Milford, CT – A concrete masonry facility was the site of a tragically fatal conveyor accident last week. Daniel Kendrick, age 29, was killed on the job after becoming trapped in a conveyor belt system. OSHA is investigating the workplace fatality.
The masonry plant operated by New Milford Block and Supply was the site of the fatal conveyor accident. Kendrick is reported to have been a production operator at the concrete processing facility, with less than a year on the job.
The worker initially had been reported as missing, sadly though his body was subsequently discovered in a conveyor belt system used to move cement blocks. The medical examiner for the area ruled Kendrick’s death as accidental after determining loss of life due to blunt compression injuries to the head and torso.
Representatives of OSHA’s office in Hartford (CT) spoke with journalists this week, stating that “OSHA is gathering information to determine whether or not there were any violations of workplace safety standards in connection with this incident.”
Unfortunately, New Milford Block and Supply has been the focus of recent OSHA citations for violations of federal machine guarding safety standards in 2018, and previously in 2013 as well.
Fontana, CA – A fatal workplace accident killed a materials handler at California Steel Industries on May 21, 2019. Cal/OSHA is investigating the cause.
The employee’s name has not been made public. It has been reported that the man became pinned between a belt and a mandrel while he was working at a table at the steel slab processing facility. The mandrel is a cylindrical object which the steel was shaped against as a part of the steel slab processing work done at California Steel Industries’ Fontana plant.
Firefighters were able to extract the man from the machinery within minutes of their arrival. The employee was taken to a regional medical center, where he tragically died.
In its efforts to protect and improve the health and safety of California’s workforce, Cal/OSHA will be working with the company to determine the cause of this workplace tragedy.
Glastonbury, CT – An employee at EDAC Technologies had to be rescued after becoming caught in machinery while on the job. The worker was transported via helicopter to receive medical care for serious injuries to his legs as a result of the industrial accident earlier this week.
The injured worker is reported to be a 58-year-old male employed by EDAC Technologies, an aerospace and defense manufacturing facility. According to local police, he became stuck inside an industrial CNC vertical turning center and was seriously injured as a result. It took area firefighters over 30 minutes to extract the worker from the machine, after which he was taken by helicopter to the local hospital for treatment.
Other reports of the accident claim that the worker fell into the industrial lathe machine and “sustained serious injuries to the lower extremities” as a result. At this time, the man’s name and condition have not released and there have been no updates as to the cause of the fall or entrapment that lead to the injury. OSHA has been informed and will be conducting an investigation into the accident.
EDAC Technologies is an aerospace parts company specializing in the manufacture of large diameter, thin-walled cases that are used in aerospace, defense, and turbine industries.
Altoona, IA – The state of Iowa’s division of OSHA has issued fines of $8,781 following its investigation into the events that lead to the death of a machine operator at Summit Products Incorporated earlier this year.
On March 1, 2019, William George Wilson Jr (42) was the victim of a workplace accident at Summit Products’ RV accessories manufacturing facility. Wilson was a machine operator and had worked at the plant for approximately two years. On March 1, however, he was reportedly crushed in a machine and died after being transported to a local hospital.
This month, OSHA released its report on the accident which described multiple violations which contributed to the machine operator’s death in March. OSHA’s citation against Summit Products details four serious violations and one “other-than-serious” violation. According to Iowa OSHA, Summit Products did not have procedures in place to control the area in which the accident occurred. The citations also allege that proper machine guarding was absent at the time of the incident. Additionally, Summit Products was found to have incomplete records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
St. Joseph, MO – Following a fatal workplace accident at a Missouri sawmill, OSHA has issued $199,183 in fines for 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co.
The fatal workplace accident occurred on March 12 of 2018 when American Walnut employee Joshua Hill (38) came into contact with operating equipment. Hill reportedly fell into the chute of a grinder and was killed. OSHA found that Hill was not attached to a tether line when he fell 10 feet into the grinder chute.
Following the sawmill fatality, federal workplace safety investigators identified 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co. including failure to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and ensure adequate machine guarding. Additionally, workers were found to have been exposed to hazards associated with falls, ladders, and electrical safety.
Noise hazards observed at American Walnut prompted a separate investigation. OSHA inspectors documented that American Walnut employees were exposed to hazards associated with noise, combustible dust, and chemicals within the St. Joseph (MO) facility.
OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office Director stated that “Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities.”
The safety of American workers is always our driving motivation at Martin Technical. Anyone with questions about federal safety standards and/or workplace safety hazards should contact a member of our Industrial Safety Team. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient. Our experts apply real-world solutions to create effective safety and health programs across this country and beyond.
Mobile, AL – OSHA has issued fines of over $75,000 to an Alabama packaging manufacturer for failing to protect employees from the hazards of moving parts. Ampac Mobile Holdings LLC (operating as ProAmpac) was found to have been exposing employees to caught-in and struck-by hazards at their Mobile (AL) facility. Federal workplace safety investigators are charging $75,156 in penalties for inadequate machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures violations.
OSHA was alerted to the Ampac/ProAmpac facility after an employee suffered a severe hand injury as a result of getting caught in a piece of equipment. In a separate accident, an Ampac employee’s finger was lacerated when struck by moving machine parts.
In the course of their investigation, OSHA determined that Ampac failed to use proper machine guarding measures, and failed to control hazardous energy by implementing effective lockout/tagout procedures.
Unfortunately, these two accidents could have been prevented. As OSHA’s Acting Mobile Area Office Director stated, “A comprehensive safety and health program, includ[ing] an evaluation and correction for amputation hazards, could have identified and prevented these injuries.”
An estimated 3 million American workers service equipment in the course of their jobs. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not effectively implemented. Compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Additionally, it has been estimated that workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.
Muncy, PA – Economy Locker Storage Co. was the site of an employee death earlier this week. Jill Greninger (35) was killed when she reached into the industrial meat grinder she was operating, then either fell in or was pulled into the machine.
Greninger woman was reported to have been operating the machine while on a rolling ladder or set of wheeled stairs some 6 feet off the ground. There were no witnesses to this horrific industrial accident, leaving safety personnel unsure of whether she lost her balance and fell or was pulled into the commercial meat grinder.
A fellow employee found Greninger in the grinder and called for help, but tragically she was dead when local authorities arrived at the Economy Locker Storage facility. Firefighters reportedly spent 45 minutes dissembling the machine before they could extract the worker’s body.
In a statement from the local coroner, Charles Kiessling Jr. said “This is just a tragedy…She died inside the moving parts of the machine.”
OSHA is investigating the cause of this industrial accident.
Jeffersonville, IN – Two serious violations of machine guarding standards were found in the course of an investigation into an Indiana employee’s death. In Februrary of this year, a worker was killed at the Jeffersonville (IN) Valmont Coatings metal finishing plant. This month, the Indiana office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued fines totaling $14,000 for two serious violations of machine guarding standards they found in the course of their investigation of the Indiana production facility.
49-year-old Marion Fletcher was killed at the Jeffersonville (IN) facility on February 20th while reportedly wearing a long-sleeved shirt with “unrestrained” hair at the time of the accident. OSHA found that the machinery Fletcher was operating was not properly guarded to prevent employees from getting caught during its cycle.
Emergency crews arrived at the Valmont facility in response to a call about an industrial accident and an unconscious and unresponsive worker. Fletcher showed no signs of life when he arrived at the hospital, despite the best efforts of emergency responders. Marion Fletcher had reportedly been employed by Valmont for nine months prior to the fatal accident.
For it’s part in the accident, Valmont was issued two violations. Each safety violation was deemed “serious” and carries a penalty of $7,000. Valmont specializes in hot-dip galvanizing and protective coatings for steel.
The importance of machine guarding and employee safety training cannot be overemphasized. Accidents such as this serve as an unfortunate reminder for us all. Please call an industrial safety specialist at Martin Technical today if you have any concerns about the safety of machines in your workplace.