Lockout Failure Results in Amputation at Chicago-area Poultry Facility

Chicago, IL – OSHA has proposed penalties of $52,500 against Aspen Foods, Inc after a worker lost part of his finger in a machine. The employee lost part of his right middle finger while clearing a paper jam on a machine that lacked adequate safety guards. The northwest suburban Chicago-area poultry processing facility is based in Park Ridge and provides food service, retail and quick-serve chicken products.

OSHA inspectors found the machine lacked adequate safety guards to protect workers from dangerous moving parts by using locking devices to prevent operation while clearing the paper jam, known as lockout/tagout procedures. OSHA also issued four serious violations to Koch Foods Inc. which does business as Aspen Foods.

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Alabama Lumber Mill Cited for LOTO Safety Failures

Linden, AL – Linden Lumber has been cited for two repeated and seven serious safety, health, and LOTO violations. OSHA found that workers were exposed to falls and unguarded belts, pulleys and machinery, according to their Oct 13, 2015 report. The Alabama lumber mill faces fines totaling $43,116 for continually exposing workers to potentially deadly workplace safety hazards that could cause amputations, falls and other injuries.

“It’s disappointing when employers that have been previously cited for safety violations continue to expose workers to those same hazards,” said Joseph Roesler, director of OSHA’s Mobile Area Office. Linden Lumber was previously cited for similar violations at this facility in February.

OSHA opened the inspection after learning of a worker being hospitalized for a broken leg when an overloaded piece of machinery shot out a piece of lumber. This inspection that occurred in May fell under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations..

Serious citations were also issued to the employer for failing to provide safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing; not providing protective eyewear to workers; and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders. Additionally, the employer exposed workers to falls and multiple electric shock hazards.

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Louisiana Bag Manufacturer Fined for LOTO Failures

West Monroe, LA – Bancroft Bags Inc., has been fined $84,000 and cited for 16 serious violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for loto failures – failing to guard machinery and implement appropriate shut down precautions.

These procedures are known as lockout/tagout and are required by OSHA. 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, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

OSHA initiated an inspection after receiving notification from thLockout Tagout loto failurese employer that a printing press operator had his hand pulled into the gears and his index finger amputated while trying to remove a gear from its shaft.

“The cost of implementing safety procedures is so low, and the cost of ignoring them is so high,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge. “If Bancroft had implemented procedures to keep the press from starting up, this man would still have all 10 fingers.”

Bancroft Bags employs about 400 workers at its West Monroe packaging plant and is a leading manufacturer of bags for pet food, fertilizers, and chemical product companies.

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Employee Injury at GA Mat Manufacturer Generates $51K in Fines and 9 OSHA Violations

Calhoun, GA – Apache Mills, Inc. was cited for nine safety violations on October 1, 2015. OSHA investigators audited the Calhoun, GA floor mat manufacturing facility following report of an employee injury. OSHA uncovered hazards and failures in electrical safety, machine safety, and worker’s exposure to electric shock and arc flash. Proposed penalties total $51,000.

OSHA received a report that a 42-year old maintenance technician at Apache Mills was hospitalized earlier this year after his left hand was injected with fluid from a leaking hydraulic line on a press. The employee was performing maintenance on the machine when the accident occurred. The machine was not in a zero-energy state. Lockout/tagout procedures should have been in place to prevent the accidental start-up or movement of machinery during maintenance.

Additional OSHA citations were issued for inadequate worker training on safe electrical practices, not providing personal protective equipment to safeguard workers from electrical arc or flash burns, and not ensuring proper guarding of machinery.

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NJ Commercial Laundry Facility Fined for LOTO Failures

Lyndhurst, NJ – Prestige Industries LLC of Lyndhurst (NJ) is being cited for nine violations related to worker safety and health at its facility in Paterson (NJ) where the company launders fabrics for the hotel industry, and faces proposed fines of $305,000. These fines and violations are similar to those found after an employee death in 2011.

OSHA received a complaint from a Prestige employee. Upon investigation, the agency determined that employees in the facility faced hazards similar to those previously found at its Bay Shore, N.Y., location, where a 24-year-old worker was caught in an unguarded conveyor-belt machine and crushed to death in 2011.

“It is unacceptable when a company continues to neglect basic safety and health procedures, especially after experiencing a fatality,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “Prestige Industries’ deliberate failure to uphold its responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace is an indication that worker safety and health is not a priority.”

OSHA cited the Prestige for one willful violation for lack of lockout/tagout procedures, which prevent the accidental start-up or movement of machinery; three repeated violations that include failure to train employees on the purpose and function of an energy-control program; failure to provide machine guarding and failure to provide lockout/tagout devices on machinery; and five serious safety and health violations that include unsafe exit routes, electrical hazards and no established respiratory protection program.

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Lockout/Tagout Failures at Case Farms Garner $1.4M in Fines

Canton, OH – OSHA has levied penalties against Case Farms Processing Inc. for 16 violations at the chicken processor’s Canton facility. The supplier of fast food and supermarket chicken is facing more than $1.4 million in fines this year for worker safety and health violations.

OSHA says the lockout failures resulted in two serious injuries to workers while they cleaned machines: A 17-year-old worker (employed by cleaning subcontractor Cal-Clean) had his left leg amputated from the knee down, and a 24-year-old Case Farms employee lost two fingertips. Both workers were fired after the incidents.

OSHA requires equipment-specific lockout procedures for industrial machinery. These 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 unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.  Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO (Lock Out, Tag Out) procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy for employees to follow.

OSHA cited Case Farms for safety violations with proposed penalties of $424,600 on Sept 24. The agency also penalized Cal-Clean’s owner, Callaghan and Callaghan with $179,700 in fines on Sept. 28, for another safety violations. Both companies were cited for exposing workers to serious hazards.

In August, OSHA placed Case Farms in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, after it assessed $861,500 in penalties following investigations at the company’s Winesburg, Ohio facility.

Case Farms processes 2.8 million chickens per week at seven facilities in North Carolina and Ohio. It has more than 3,200 employees and produces more than 900 million pounds of fresh, partially cooked and frozen-for-export poultry products yearly. Callaghan and Callaghan is located in Greensboro, North Carolina and is contracted to clean some of Case Farms’ facilities.

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Hearthside Cited for LOTO Violation

McComb, OH – “America’s Bakery,” Hearthside Food Solutions, is facing $52,500 in proposed federal fines after a McComb (OH) factory employee lost part of a finger due to neglect of Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures.

OSHA found that a lack of adequate safeguards on a dough-cutting machine cost a 55-LOTOyear-old worker part of his right middle finger while he was unjamming the machine. Safeguards that protect workers maintaining machinery are known in the industry as lockout/tagout procedures.

Hearthside Food Solutions was cited for a similar violation in 2010, and twice this year for failing to turn off the machine during maintenance and for not training employees on safety procedures to prevent exposure to moving parts, according to OSHA.

Hearthside bills themselves as the “food industry’s largest contract manufacturer of baked goods and bars.” They make cookies and crackers for Nabisco, Kellogg’s and General Mills. Based in Downers Grove, Illinois, Hearthside Food Solutions has 23 facilities in North America and Europe. The company employs about 6,000 workers, nearly 1,800 of them at the McComb plant.

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Stampcoat Facing $119K in OSHA Fines

El Paso, TX – OSHA has uncovered 33 different types of violations at Stampcoat, Inc. (operating as El Paso Tool and Die). OSHA was alerted to safety concerns at the facility following reports of employees losing fingers due to improperly protected equipment. Fines from the safety violations uncovered total $119,000.

The investigation was prompted when an employee had his index and middle finger crushed, and part of his ring finger amputated by a machine without proper protection in place. Later, while OSHA was conducting the investigation between March and May of this year, another employee had the tip of his thumb sheared off in another incident.

Safety violations were found on many of the plant’s machines, including a lack of employee protections, lax controls and protections for when the machines were being worked on (Lockout/Tagout), improper hearing protection requirements, and forklift issues among others.

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American Air Filter Fined for Machine Safety and LOTO Failures

Atlanta, GA – OSHA has fined American Air Filter Co. Inc. $119,900 for allegedly failing to provide proper machine guarding to protect employees from amputation hazards and not following safety procedures to prevent unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance and servicing, known as Lockout/Tagout.

These violations have landed American Air Filter on the OSHA‘s Severe Violator List “for demonstrating indifference to its OSH Act obligations to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.”

Having equipment specific lockout procedures written for each piece of equipment is required by OSHA, and is the cornerstone of a compliant lockout/tagout program. The 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 startup or energization of machinery and equipment, as well as preventing the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

“This is the second significant enforcement action we’ve conducted at AAF International in the last six months,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “We found the same type of hazards during a recent inspection in a different area at the same plant. Management continues to allow workers to clean equipment without following safety procedures and without guards being properly installed.”

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Seattle Company Fined for Confined Space and LOTO failures

Seattle, WA – Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has cited Industrial Container Services $215,250 for seven failure to abate serious violations related to confined space hazards and for not ensuring that moving parts were de-energized to prevent workers from becoming caught in machinery.

Industrial Container Services refurbishes metal drums and other industrial containers. It operates a “drum shot-blaster unit,” a 24-foot long tunnel with a series of rotating shafts that move metal drums through as they’re being shot-blasted to remove paint and coatings. L&I began its investigation in January 2015 after a worker was hospitalized after being injured while working inside a drum shot-blaster. The worker became entangled in a rotating shaft while working inside the confined space. L&I’s statement said the agency had cited the company previously for many of these hazards, but they had not been corrected.

L&I cited the company for seven failure to abate serious violations related to the confined space hazards and for not ensuring that moving parts were de-energized to prevent workers from becoming caught in machinery – procedures known as Lockout/Tagout.

These violations were originally cited in October 2013 and had not been corrected. Each carries a penalty of $22,750. L&I also cited the company for four repeat-serious violations and four serious violations related to confined space procedures and lockout/tagout, with penalties ranging from $11,700 to $4,550 for these.

“As a result of these safety issues, Industrial Container Solutions has been identified as a severe violator and could be subject to increased scrutiny at all its locations nationwide,” L&I’s announcement stated. It said the company has appealed the citation.

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