Amputation Hazards Found at AL Food Processing Plant

Brundidge, AL – Southern Classic Food Group LLC faces $164,997 in fines following citations for amputation and other hazards stemming from separate incidents in which two employees were hospitalized, one for a finger amputation and one for burns.

In the first incident brought to their attention, OSHA stated that an employee suffered burns while using hot water under pressure. Just six days later, another employee suffered an amputation to the tip of the finger.

In the course of their investigation, OSHA found that Southern Classic Food Group exposed employees to amputation hazards; neglected to implement lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy and failed to train employees on these procedures; failed to ensure employees isolated energy sources; and did not provide personal protective equipment or implement a bloodborne pathogen program. 

One OSHA citation was for neglecting to make sure workers isolated energy sources before performing line-breaking work. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) and Hazardous Energy Control/Control of Hazardous Energy refers to the same standard of preventing unexpected start up or movement of equipment. Machines that start up unexpectedly during maintenance are common causes of industrial injury and amputation. Proper application of lockout-tagout (or hazardous energy controls) violations are on OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists.

Approximately 3 million workers in the US service equipment and face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 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.

Risk of amputation is a hazard of conducting maintenance work on industrial machinery, which is why OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies, practices, and procedures. Training ensures that the purpose and function of an energy control program is 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.

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Arm Amputated at Industrial Food Plant

Random Lake, WI – A Lakeside Foods employee had her arm amputated above the elbow Monday in an industrial accident at the Wisconsin food packager. The 30-year-old victim was taken by Fight for Life to Froedert Hospital.

arm amputatedOSHA has several standards in place to control amputation hazards in American workplaces. Approximately 3 million workers service equipment and these employees face the greatest risk of injury on the job. OSHA states that “Safeguarding is essential for protecting employees from needless and preventable injury. A good rule to remember is: Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.”

Safeguards that control amputation hazards include machine guarding, lockout/tagout procedures and programs, application of ring guards, and installation of audio or visual awareness devices, among others.

According to OSHA, “a hazardous energy control program is a critical part of an overall strategy to prevent workplace amputations during machine servicing and maintenance activities, such as during the setting up of machines for production purposes, bypassing guards to clear jams or lubricate parts, and inspecting, adjusting, replacing, or otherwise servicing machine parts. Machine amputations occur when an employer does not have or fails to implement practices and procedures to disable and control a machine’s energy sources during machine servicing and maintenance work.”

Compliance with federally mandated lockout/tagout standards prevents an estimated 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. In a study conducted by the UAW, 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed specifically to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures.

Lakeside foods produces frozen and canned vegetables at the Random Lake (WI) facility.

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OSHA Fines Genpak for Lockout/Tagout Failures

Middletown, NY – Genpak L.L.C. has been cited for two repeat, six serious and one other-than-serious safety violations. The New York food packaging manufacturer faces $103,100 in proposed fines after two employees were seriously injured in separate workplace safety incidents last summer at Genpak’s Hope Hull (AL) facility.

OSHA conducted two investigations after learning of the injuries – one in June 2015, in which an employee suffered a partial finger amputation while trying to clear a machine jam; and the other in July 2015, when a worker was severely burned after the forklift he was using ignited butane vapors, creating an explosion inside a shipplockout/tagout failuresing trailer, according to the statement.

In response to the June 2015 lockout/tagout accident, Genpak was cited for failing to implement specific procedures to prevent machines from starting up during maintenance. Citations for failures related to servicing and exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded platforms were issued against the July 2015 accident.

These 2016 violations are unforutnately similar to those the company was cited for in 2011 and 2012.

Additionally, Genpak was cited for failing to use an explosion-proof forklift in an area filled with flammable gas, exposing workers to being struck by improperly stacked boxes, and not protecting workers from electrical deficiencies.

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