STERLING, MA – OSHA cited a multinational manufacturer for $370,000 due to failure to establish and use lockout tagout procedures and provide training. Investigators from OSHA determined that the worker in the Sterling facility was sprayed with hot liquid plastic. The accident caused severe burns to the employee who changed a screen on a plastic bag extruder machine.
The company was founded in 1967, and supplies and manufactures products for households, healthcare, personal care, and food and beverage industries. The company serves North and South American, European, and Asian markets with headquarters in Evansville, Indiana. It has 47,000 global employees at more than 295 locations, including the Sterling facility that manufactures plastic bags.
Violations and Citations
The plastic packaging manufacturer has a history of workplace safety and health investigations. OSHA has inspected the manufacturer in various U.S. locations more than 40 times during the last five years. These inspections include two fatality inspections in New Jersey and Wisconsin; both were related to lockout tagout violations. The manufacturer has contested both inspections.
OSHA concluded that the manufacturer could have prevented the accident if they had complied with the lockout tagout requirements and provided personal protective equipment. Based on the investigation in Sterling, OSHA found that the company failed to:
- Establish and use lockout tagout procedures.
- Provide training to workers to use lockout tagout procedures.
- Eliminate employee exposure to protect workers from the extruder machine while they performed service or maintenance.
- Conduct periodic inspections to ensure workers follow the safety procedures.
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment to ensure that employees were protected when servicing the extruder.
Subsequently, OSHA cited the manufacturer for two willful violations and one repeat violation and has proposed close to $370K in penalties.
“Berry Global Inc. could have prevented this worker’s injuries if the company had the required safeguards,” said OSHA Area Director Mary Hoye in Springfield, Massachusetts. “OSHA will hold employers accountable when they knowingly disregard their legal responsibility to provide workers a safe and healthful workplace.”
Berry Global Inc. also meets the Severe Violator Enforcement Program requirements because one of the proposed willful, and the proposed repeat citation, are high emphasis standards of lockout tagout.
However, the company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
In summary, organizations must ensure proper lockout tagout practices and procedures to safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Additionally, routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of workplace safety. This includes training workers in energy control and providing the skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices. Learn more about lockout tagout compliance and working safely in plastic products manufacturing.
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Resources and Helpful Information on Lockout Tagout
OSHA Lockout Tagout Fact Sheet
OSHA’s general requirements for controlling hazardous energy during service or maintenance of machines or equipment.