Worker’s Arm Crushed in Preventable Energy Control Accident

Norwalk, OH – An Ohio manufacturer faces $213,411 in federal safety fines for failures to prevent known safety hazards. Following an industrial accident at their Norwalk (OH) facility, OSHA found American Excelsior failed to develop or implement energy control procedures and also failed to train employees on energy control procedures.

Energy control procedures, such as Lockout/Tagout, are designed to prevent unintentional machine start-up during maintenance. 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.

In the 2018 accident at American Excelsior, OSHA investigators determined that the employee sustained injuries when a machine resumed operation while he was in the process of removing product build-up in the equipment. The worker suffered a crushed arm and required hospitalization.

According to OSHA’s Toledo Area Office Director, American Excelsior “failed to implement safety procedures to prevent known hazards…This injury could have been avoided if machine locking devices had been installed.”

OSHA’s proposed penalties of $213,411 are for violations and failures found at American Excelsior in the areas of energy control, machine guarding, and employee training.

Training employees on the value of energy control procedures is one of the most crucial pieces of a successful and compliant lockout/tagout program. Employers must provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that they possess the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of energy controls.

compliance

American Excelsior Company manufactures biodegradable erosion control blankets. They are reported to have received citations for similar violations at their Wisconsin facility in 2017 and have been placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA sets and enforces the standards that make workplaces safe for American workers. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical industrial safety and efficiency services. Our experts can help simplify the complex by applying real-world solutions for Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessments, Training, Machine Safety & Safety Consulting Services. Contact a member of our Safety Services & Training Team to discuss how we can help make your workplace better, safer and more efficient.

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WI Worker Killed in HVAC Tagout Failure

Wauwatosa, WI – An employee at AAM Casting was killed while working on the facility’s rooftop HVAC system. 61-year-old William Walker died after being pulled into a moving fan at the Wisconsin foundry. A co-worker told investigators that the fatal accident could be traced back to Walker’s failure to “tag out” the equipment.

Tagout failureAccording to the medical examiner’s report, Walker was working on the roof in small building that housed an air handling unit. Each air unit consisted of a set of stairs leading into a separate room. Walker was found in a small steel fan shack that controlled ventilation for the building.

Investigators were told by a person on the scene that Walker was supposed to have “tagged out” after finishing his task, but neglected to do so and was fatally “swallowed up” by the fan. Another worker heard commotion and found Walker. That employee shut down the unit and called 911. The local medical examiner is investigating the exact cause of death.

A spokesperson represneting AAM Casting said the victim, William Walker, was an outside contractor working at the facility.

Lockfatal accidentLockout procedout-Tagout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment. Lockout-Tagout (also known as Control of Hazardous Energy) helps to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in worker injury or fatality.

According to OSHA, nearly 3 million US workers service equipment as a part of their job. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout (LOTO) is not properly implemented. Compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard is estimated to prevent 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries annually. In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of fatalities that occurred among their membership over a span of 22 years were attributable to inadequate lockout/tagout procedures.

Contact a member of our Industrial Safety Team today to discuss the implementation of a robust Lockout/Tagout system at your facility, and the importance of training employees on the use and value of LOTO.

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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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Young Father Loses Both Legs in Preventable Lockout Accident

Spooner, WI – Spooner Machine has been cited for willful and serious safety violations after a preventable lockout accident led to an explosion that resulted in the amputation of a young father’s legs. OSHA has placed Spooner Machine Inc. on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and has proposed penalties of $221,168.

According to local police, Spooner Machine employee Bradley Grossen, 29, suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the explosion at the Wisconsin facility. Grossen was reportedly repairing a water table used in metal fabrication when an explosion threw him from the top of the water table to the floor.

Federal workplace safety investigators determined that the explosion was caused by an accumulation of hydrogen gas. OSHA cited Spooner Machine for failing to develop and implement procedures to control the release of hydrogen gas during service and maintenance; to ensure proper machine guarding; store gas and oxygen cylinders properly; to provide required training; and protect employees from electrical hazards.

preventable lockout accident

OSHA’s Area Office Director stated that “this injury could have been prevented if the employer had properly protected their workers from the release of hazardous energy.”

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. The terms are used interchangably, although “Lockout” is more commonly used in the United States.

Written Lockout/tagout 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 injuring.

Violations of federal workplace safety standards regarding lockout-tagout (or hazardous energy controls) are on OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists. Many companies have general written policies, but lack the equipment specific procedures which provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources. Lockout/Tagout fines are based on each piece of equipment, and can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Written procedures for the control of hazardous energy are not effective without training. OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by the workforce. A robust lockout program pairs equipment-specific lockout procedures with employees who have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls.

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Energized Palletizer Kills Pet Food Worker

Ogden, UT – The American Nutrition plant in northern Utah was the site of an employee death last month when Raul Ortiz was killed in a palletizer accident. Ortiz was crushed after entering an energized palletizer elevator in an attempt to restart packaging line equipment at the pet food manufacturing facility.

energized palletizer kills

Raul Ortiz, a 33-year-old packaging line associate, was fatally injured while operating an automatic bag palletizer. The palletizer machine automatically stacks pet food bags onto a pallet for transport. Ortiz was attempting to restart the palletizer when he was injured on the nightshift and died soon after.

It is believed that Ortiz got into the palletizer elevator while the equipment was still energized, becoming fatally injured as the machinery lifted and crushed him onto the top of the elevator.

An investigation has been launched into the accident and the facility was closed for a portion of time. The American Nutrition facility at Ogden produces extruded, real meat, and baked pet food products.

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Worker Loses Both Legs in Lockout Accident at CA Foundry

Alhambra, CA – A foundry worker lost both legs last August after a coworker re-energized the machine he was working in. Alhambra Foundry has been fined $283,390 for federal workplace safety and health violations including lack of permit-required confined space program, inadequate machine-specific lockout procedures, missing accident prevention signage, and not having a confined space attendant monitoring his entry, the employee to have suffered the loss of both his lower limbs could look into hiring a workers compensation attorney to see if he is entitled to a compensation payout.

According to federal safety regulators, two Alhambra Foundry employees were cleaning and unblocking a 38-feet-long auger screw conveyor at the bottom hopper of an industrial air filtration device without effectively locking out the equipment. After the cleaning was done, one of the workers re-entered the 20-inch square opening to retrieve a work light from inside the confined space. Unfortunately, at that same time a maintenance worker 45 feet away energized the equipment to perform a test. The moving auger screw pulled the worker into the screw conveyor and both of his legs had to be amputated in Lockout Accidentorder to get him free of the machine.

The Cal/OSHA Chief stated that “sending a worker into a confined space is dangerous, especially inside machinery that can be powered on at any time…Employers must ensure that machinery and equipment are de-energized and locked out before workers enter the space to perform operations involving cleaning and servicing.”

In their investigation, Cal/OSHA found that the screw conveyor was not de-energized and locked out before workers entered the hopper, and accident prevention signs were not placed on the controls. On construction sites, construction project management software is often implemented so as to keep workers informed of ongoing dangers and avoid potential incidents. Alhambra Foundry lacked specific procedures for de-energizing and locking out the equipment and additionally, the worker re-entering the hopper was not monitored by a confined space attendant.

Unfortunately, Alhambra Foundry was cited for similar violations eight years ago and therefore were issued a willful serious accident-related violation for failing to take appropriate measures to protect workers performing cleaning and servicing operations.

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Lockout Failures Lead to Amputations + Half Million Fine for Vinyl Manufacturer

amputationsFostoria, OH – The amputations and injuries that resulted from inadequate lockout tagout procedures and practices at a northwestern Ohio vinyl tile manufacturer have now also resulted in over half a million dollars in fines for federal safety violations.

Nox Corporation has been cited for five “willful” and two “serious” violations related to inadequate lockout tagout procedures. OSHA issued Nox $514,236 in fines on Dec 21, 2017 and has placed the corporation on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

An investigation into the South Korean vinyl tile manufacturer was triggered by two incidents in 2017 and led to the discovery of eight machine safety violations. One employee required surgery after a tile machine crushed his hand, and shortly afterward, an employee suffered partial amputations of two fingers while working on a recycle material system.

OSHA cited Nox Corp for failing to use adequate lockout/tagout procedures and devices to prevent unintentional machine movement, failure to train employees, and exposing employees to fall hazards. Nox has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

In a statement from OSHA’s Toledo office, the area director stated that “when dangerous machines are not properly guarded or de-energized, employees face an increased risk of serious injuries…Employers must monitor their facilities continuously to ensure workplace safety and health procedures are adequate and effective.”

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Lockout Violations Found at Wilson Factory

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 lockout violationsparts 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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Lockout Dangers Equal $106K in Fines for AL Auto Parts Manufacturer

Auburn, AL – In a Jan 2016 inspection of the Pyongsan America, Inc. facility in Auburn (AL), OSHA uncovered 11 safety violations, including 4 repeat violations and several examples of lockout dangers. The inspection was part of OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry. Pyongsan America, Inc. and Surge Staffing LLC face a combined $106,020 in fines after workers were found to be at risk of amputation.

The inspection found workers exposed to being caught-in machinery, hit by objects and the risk of amputation Auburn (AL) facility where Pyonglockout dangerssan America manufactures heating, ventilation and air conditioning hoses for Hyundai, Kia, Chrysler and General Motors.

Surge Staffing Agency, also based in Auburn, provides approximately 50 temporary employees to Pyongsan America. OSHA issued two serious citations to Surge for failing to train employees and protect them from crushing and amputation hazards.

OSHA issued four repeated citations to Pyongsan for Lockout Tagout failures – Pyongsan was found to have consistently neglected to develop and implement proper procedures to prevent machinery from starting-up during maintenance or servicing, conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures, and/or train employees performing work on hazardous energy sources.

OSHA cited Pyongsan for two serious violations for not requiring workers to de-energize equipment when changing out parts on machinery and exposing employees to amputation hazards due to ineffective machine guarding on the mechanical power presses.

To prevent these kinds of amputation hazards, OSHA requires lockout procedures written for each piece of equipment. These lockout/tagout procedures provide detailed instructions 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, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO lockout procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy to follow.

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Worker’s Hand Amputated in TX Lockout/Tagout Accident

Cleburne, TX – OSHA issued $49,600 in fines to Johns Manville after receiving reports that a worker’s hand was severed in an accident at its plant in Cleburne (TX). Johns Manville, a Colorado-based manufacturer of insulation and roofing products for buildings and equipment. The 34-year-old employee was attempting to clear a jam in a machine at the time of the amputation.amputatrf lockout tagout

In their statement, OSHA said the Johns Manville facility in Cleburne (TX) lacked clear steps for shutting down and securing machines and failed to train employees about the hazards associated with hazardous energy. According to OSHA’s report, flawed lockout/tagout procedures contributed to the accident: “Johns Manville’s flawed procedures to control hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guards ultimately led to an amputation…[Johns Manville] should have evaluated its lockout/tagout program and provided proper machine guarding.”

OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Training ensures 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.

The $49,600 in fines were for lack of machine guards on a conveyor and allowing an unguarded and protruding shaft — both were repeat violations at the Cleburn plant. Similar violations were found at Johns Manville facilities in Ohio and New Jersey. The Cleburn (TX) site employs about 400 workers.

Contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance Team today to discuss how we can assist with lockout at your facility. Our lockout/tagout professionals use RAPID LOTO™. This unique program is a proprietary system developed by Martin Technical that allows faster and more accurate turnaround time on developing Lockout / Tagout procedures and placards. We utilize our own software program with hand-held tablets, and a rapid response in-field process to label equipment in the field. Through our software program, we can develop placards in just a few hours for you to review, keeping the information at hand relevant and fresh. Application of the placards to your equipment can often be done the next day.

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