Willful Violation of Machine Safety Protocols Leads to UK Employee Injury

Tiverton, Devon, UK – An employee’s hand was crushed and may require amputation as the result of an industrial accident in England. Heathcoat Fabrics’ attitude toward machine safety has been described by Exeter prosecutors as “willful blindness.”

Heathcoat Fabrics, located in the Southwestern portion of the English isle, has been fined the equivalent of nearly $385,000 for admittedly “contravening health and safety regulations by failing to prevent access to the dangerous willful violationparts of the L-Stenter mangle at their plant in Westexe.”

Local officials began investigating Heathcoat following an incident in 2016 which led to employee Anthony Seward suffering a serious crush injury to his left hand. Seward did not realize that the rollers were on when he was preparing and cleaning the L-Stenter mangle for the night. His left hand became entangled in the machine which had been outfitted with a stop-cord, but not the light curtain that it should have had.

Light curtains are installed to automatically stop machine operations when a beam of light is broken. The machine at Heathcoat Fabrics had a light curtain installed in 2009, but it broke down in January 2014. Replacement parts had been ordered, but were not installed. Instead, a risk assessment by the employer decided that the use of an emergency stop-cord would be a sufficient safety measure.

The local prosecutor has said: “This case is about the fact that [Heathcoat Fabrics] failed to reinstate the light curtain to stop access to the danger zone. They knew this was a risk as they had installed it as a control measure prior to the incident happening. The fact that they had assessed the risk and had put in the control of the light curtain previously shows how avoidable and preventable this accident was. What they did instead was inadequate and resulted in this very serious injuries.Their willful blindness to the risk that was in place meant that the controls did not reach industrial standard.”

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2015 Confined Space Death Results in OSHA Fines Against 4 Separate Companies

Springfield, IL – OSHAs new construction confined space standard is being brought to bear against 4 Illinois companies following the death in October 2015 of a worker renovating the Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant. The new OSHA standard went into effect Aug 15, 2015 and the recent citations against Henderson; Williams Brothers Inc; Tobin Bros.; and Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. are among the first to have been issued to violators of the new construction confined space rules.

In October 2015, a 42-year-old worker suffered fatal blconfined spaceunt force injuries when an inflatable bladder ruptured at Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant wastewater treatment facility. OSHA inspectors have found the employer, Henderson Construction of Central Illinois Inc., failed to train the employee properly.

While the majority of the violations cited centered on a failure to train workers on how to safely operate equipment, Henderson Construction was also cited for failing to manage how and when workers entered the large round pipe as well as confined space-related violations. 3 other companies involved were also cited for multiple safety violations by OSHA: Williams Brothers Inc who were the controlling contractor on the site; subcontractor Tobin Bros; and another subcontractor, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. These 4 companies were working on a $54.4 million renovation of the Springfield Metro Sanitary District’s Sugar Creek Plant.

Many workplaces contain areas that are considered confined spaces because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. They include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, boilers, and pipelines.

Martin Technical confined space services are designed to keep workers safe, and help companies meet OSHA regulations. Contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance Team to evaluate your work site to determine which spaces require permits, develop a written program and specific procedures for entering each confined space.

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Manke Lumber Fined for Repeat Violations After 2014 Worker Death

Tacoma, WA – Manke Lumber Company Inc., of Tacoma, has been fined by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for 25 serious and 11 general safety and health violations, totaling $87,120.

An investigation began in December of 2014, following the fatal injury of a worker at the facility. Jeffrey Busha died on the job at Manke Lumber when his clothing was caught by a rotating shaft that pulled him into a conveyor as he was trying to loosen jammed lumber. The fatal incident prompted L&I to do a comprehensive safety and health inspection of the entire worksite.

Manke Lumber was fined $6,600 for not safeguarding exposed shafts in four locations, including the conveyor where the worker died. The exposed shafts created the potential for workers to become entangled, which can cause severe injuries, permanent disability and death.repeat violations

The investigation also found a serious-repeat violation with a penalty of $8,400 for not ensuring that bench grinders were guarded to prevent severe injuries to the hand and face. The company had been previously cited for the violation in 2013.

Additionally, Manke Lumber was cited for serious violations for hazards related to “confined spaces.” Confined spaces are enclosed areas where employees are required to enter to perform maintenance and repair. Examples include hoppers, conveyors and dryers. Entering confined spaces may expose workers to the risk of suffocation, toxic atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment or other harm.

When a confined space has one or more hazardous characteristics that could harm workers, employers must control access to the area and use a permit system to prevent unauthorized entry. Anyone working in or around a permit-required confined space must be trained and there must be safety measures and rescue procedures in place.

The employer was cited for 12 violations for confined space hazards and fined $14,400.

Additional penalties totaling $57,720 were assessed for violations that included failing to guard moving parts on belt sanders, bandsaws, sprocket wheels, and pulleys; exposing workers to falls into unprotected holes and openings in the floor and open-sided elevated areas up to 10 feet; electrical hazards; failing to remove worn and damaged web slings from service; and not storing wood dust properly to prevent fire and/or explosion hazards.

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Worker Suffers Electric Shock and Burns in WI

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI –A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee suffered severe burns from electrical shock while on assignment for Parallel Employment Group of Wisconsin Inc. Working at the Arvato Digital Services LLC distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, the employee came in contact with an energized electrical source and suffered electrical shock. This caused severe burns and left the employee unable to work for more than four months after the May 19th incident.

An investigation OSHA cited both companies for failure to train employees in electrical safety-related work practices, including wearing electric arc flash and shock protection equipment.

OSHA cited Arvato Digital Services for one willful and 10 serious safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $124,000. Parallel Employment Group, was cited for four serious violations and faces penalties of $26,000. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control and responsibility for temporary employee safety and health.

“Workers should not conduct maintenance and trouble-shooting without shutting down electrical sources and wearing personal protective equipment. Those actions can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by this worker,” said Chris Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “Both temporary staffing agencies and host employers must train and equip their employees properly.”

OSHA’s investigation found the worker, who had been employed for about eight months, had inadvertent contact with electrical equipment while trouble-shooting an electrical failure on a heat-sealing machine.

Arvato Digital Services failed to implement electrical safety practices for employees, which resulted in one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Arvato Digital Services and Parallel Employment Group were cited for failure to train temporary employees in electrical safety and exposing workers to operating machinery parts on conveyers and press equipment. These serious violations exposed workers to electrical shock and amputation.

Additionally, Arvato Digital Services failed to require personal protective equipment for employees working near exposed, energized electrical parts. The company also did not develop procedures to de-energize circuits and equipment safely or ensure stored energy capacitors were grounded. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The citations from OSHA included electrical safety, arc flash, lockout, and machine guarding citations, as follows:

PPE -OSHA 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(l): The employer did not assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present,or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE):

Lockout / Hazardous Energy Control Program – OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i): Procedures are not developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees were engaged in activities covered by this section:

29 CPR 1910.147(c)(6)(i): The employer did not conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure at least annually to ensure that the procedure and the requirement of this standard were being followed:

Machine Guarding 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(l): Machine guarding was not provided to protect operator(s) and other employees from hazard(s) created by in going nip points, and unguarded conveyor belts:

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Worker Killed by Auger Leads to Citation for Landscaping Company

Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited a landscaping company for multiple safety violations related to the death of a worker last July. A nineteen-year-old worker was killed by a rotating auger while working inside the hopper of a bark-blower truck at a residential jobsite. The blower and auger were energized at the time the worker was clearing a jam.

The employer has been cited for two willful and 14 serious violations, with penalties totaling $199,000. The employer has also been identified as a severe violator and will be subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist in the future.

“The loss of this young man’s life is a tragedy that could have been prevented if the employer had followed basic safety and health rules that protect workers from moving machinery,” said L&I Assistant Director Anne Soiza. “We hope this citation and the penalties serve as a deterrent so that nothing like this ever happens again.”

The L&I investigation found that the employer’s workers were regularly assigned to clear jams in the bark-blower truck hoppers while the hoppers were operating. This exposed them to three very hazardous elements: a floor conveyor belt, two rotating-screw conveyors (angled augers) and a rotating stir rod. Exposure to any of these parts of the equipment could potentially result in entanglement, causing severe crushing injuries or death.

Working in and around this type of extremely hazardous equipment requires lockout/tagout safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

The employer was cited for two willful violations. The first was issued for not ensuring lockout/tagout procedures were regularly used; it carries a penalty of $56,000. The second willful violation was issued for not training the employees in the proper use of those critical procedures; it carries a $52,000 penalty.

Additionally, working in the hopper of bark-blower trucks exposed workers to confined space hazards. Confined spaces, like hoppers, are areas large enough to accommodate a worker, but aren’t designed for continuous employee occupancy and have limited ways to enter or exit.

Twelve of the serious violations cited were for failure to implement safe work practices when entering a permit-required confined space. Two other serious violations were cited for not having an effective accident prevention program and for failure to document lockout/tagout procedures. Each of these violations carries a $6,500 penalty.

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