Lockout Training Could Have Saved Employee’s Life

Jeffersonville, IN – Lockout procedures and lockout training could have saved the life of former Autoneum employee Melissa Stephens. That’s the finding of the Indiana arm of OSHA which found five safety violations following the employee death in October at Autoneum’s Jeffersonville (IN) facility. The automotive manufacturer has been fined $224,000 for violations which IOSHA believes were entirely preventable: “had the appropriate safety precautions been in place, the fatality would not have occurred.”

OSHA found violations of federal safety standards including inadequate procedures in identifying how to control the belt and pulley power and how to stop it; failure to properly guard pulleys that were 7 feet or less from the floor or work area; and failure to properly guard rotating belts from employees. Total fines for these violations are $210,000.

Additional violations were classified as those with a “high probability of death or serious harm,” and totaled $14,000:lockout training failure to establish and maintain safe work conditions through employees’ exposure to being caught in rotating machine parts due to loose clothing; and lack of effective training on hazardous power sources, such as power from moving belts, that could cause employees to become caught or pinched by machinery.

Melissa Stephens (age 44) died after an incident with a machine at the Jeffersonville plant on Oct. 21, 2017. Preliminary cause of her death was ruled multiple blunt force trauma.

Autoneum is a Swiss-based company that manufactures GM and Ford parts and specializes in vehicle acoustic and thermal management systems. They have 50 locations in more than 20 countries and employ over 11,000 people.

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