Ada, OH – The Wilson Sporting Goods football factory has been fined a total of $65,187 following the partial amputation of a worker’s finger. The accident revealed six lockout violations at the facility, wherein there was a failure to properly cut power before workers replaced machine parts or performed equipment maintenance.
OSHA reported that the amputation that brought Wilson to their attention occurred while the employee performed troubleshooting activities on equipment when it was not properly locked out. Federal investigators found that maintenance employees were exposed to potential amputation injuries when equipment was not locked out prior to die and belt changes. Additionally, OSHA cited Wilson’s football factory for not ensuring that workers were trained in an energy control program.
OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Training is done to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.
Proper application of lockout-tagout and hazardous energy control are among OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists. Many companies have written lockout policies but lack equipment specific procedures. Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, and/or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
Lockout procedures posted on equipment provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources for their safety and the preservation of machinery. OSHA bases Lockout/Tagout fines on each piece of equipment, and fees for violations have recently increased and can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Around 3 million workers service equipment and these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. It is estimated that compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. A study conducted by the United Auto Workers found that 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout failures.
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