Aluminum Manufacturer Cited for Machine Guarding Violations

Weston, WI –  An aluminum manufacturer was cited for Machine Guarding violations by OSHA in Weston, Wisconsin for $159,522 for failure to establish safe machine guarding procedures and failure of training on lockout tagout procedures. The citations for machine guarding led to serious injuries and hospitalization of an employee after being struck by a puller, while the machine was trying to unjam a piece of aluminum.

The large statewide company focuses on aluminum extrusions, fabrication, coating services, plastics painting services, along with warehouse and freighting. The aluminum manufacturer is a multi-million-dollar company with over 600 employees across 4 locations throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Violations and Citations

The aluminum manufacturer has a history of investigations and violations with OSHA citing the company eight different times for safety violations, including past machine safety violations, between 2012-2019. OSHA investigators determined that safety guards were not utilized around an 8-inch extrusion press line, which is intended to prevent employees from direct contact with the puller. Lockout tagout procedures were not utilized preventing further danger to employees.

OSHA concluded the company could have prevented the accident if they had provided adequate lockout tagout safety training as well as installed proper machine safety guards. The investigation concluded the company failed to:

  • Apply 6 ft chain link safety guards around the 8-inch extrusion press line
  • Apply Lockout tagout procedures to the press line
  • Provide training on proper machine safety procedures

These violations of safety procedures resulted in three “serious” violations, totaling  $159,522 in penalties.

“Machine guards are designed to protect workers from suffering serious injuries, but they are only effective when used properly,” said OSHA’s Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “OSHA will hold this company and others accountable for failing to comply with safety and health regulations put in place to prevent worker injuries.”

Key Takeaways

In summary, companies must be cognizant of the repercussions of not using safety procedures required by OSHA. With proper safety training and lockout tagout practices, this situation could have been avoided and the release of hazardous energy could have been prevented. Proper safety training will help ensure safe work environments and can avoid on-the-job work injuries. Learn more about safety trainings and proper lockout tagout program compliance and procedures.

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Resources and Helpful Information on Lockout Tagout

OSHA Original Violations case document 

OSHA general Requirements for controlling hazardous energy

Machine Guarding

OSHA Lockout Tagout Fact Sheet

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Roofing Contractor Cited Twice for Deadly Fall Hazards

Roofing Contractor Cited Twice for Deadly Fall Hazards

APPLETON, WI – OSHA cited an Appleton-based contractor twice in six months for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards.

In June 2021, OSHA cited the company during an inspection at a Neenah job site and proposed $21,140 in penalties. The citation included failing to provide workers with fall protection equipment and training and a ladder extending at least 3 feet above the landing surface.

Despite the consequences of the June citation, OSHA has issued one willful, one repeat, and one serious violation six months later. The proposed penalties total $49,722, based on OSHA’s observations of six roofers atop a two-story Algoma duplex on Nov. 2, 2021.

The Contractor’s History of Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards

The pair of recent inspections continues the company’s history of failing to protect its roofing workers. In 2017 and 2018, OSHA cited the company for similar hazards at other job sites. The company has neither paid OSHA penalties assessed in June 2021 nor complied with requirements to provide abatement information.

“Apple Roofing Solutions continues to show a flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of its workers and the law. Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs. It is also OSHA’s most frequently cited hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “This company seems willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries, debilitation, or worse. OSHA will hold Apple Roofing Solutions, and other employers like them, accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions.”

Fall Protection Remains OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard

For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection  (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. At the same time, the Fall Protection Training Requirements(29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in 2020 that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation.

Thus, employers should have a competent person training and supervising the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards.

In summary, Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by scheduling regular workplace fall protection training. The training provides an effective and engaging way to practice and validate safety requirements without stopping production. In addition, learn more about VR curriculums developed by subject matter experts created to raise risk awareness and provide training for preventive measures against fall accidents.

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 Resources and Helpful Information on Fall Protection
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Wisconsin Foundry Faces $200K Fines

MARINETTE, WI – The recent federal safety inspections of a northern Wisconsin foundry determined workplace safety failures caused two workers to suffer severe injuries.  In May, a worker lost two fingers to amputation and in July, an overhead hot metal carrier struck and injured another worker. US Department of Labor proposes $200K in fines for the foundry. The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC. Waupaca Foundry Inc. is a leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and industrial markets.

A-Wisconsin-foundry-faces-200k-Fines
A Total of Three Inspections Led to Penalties of $200K

While OSHA investigated the incident at Waupaca Foundry Inc. in Marinette, the agency opened a second scheduled inspection under its National Emphasis Program for Primary Metals. Inspectors found violations related to exposures to respirable crystalline silica and noise. The employer reported the July 17 injury to inspectors during the second inspection, which led to a third inspection. After completing the three inspections, OSHA issued one willful, seven serious, and five other-than-serious violations to Waupaca Foundry. The proposed penalties are $200,895.

The Violations

OSHA determined that a lack of energy control procedures, commonly known as lockout/tagout, exposed workers to hazards in both incidents. OSHA cited the following violations:

The foundry industry had a 6.4 percent rate of injury in 2020

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the foundry industry had a 6.4 percent injury rate for every 100 workers in 2020.  “Foundries are inherently dangerous industrial operations. The workers are exposed to hazards from machinery, trips and falls, occupational noise, and respirable silica,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers,” he continued.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is imperative. Partnering with certified lockout technicians and safety experts on developing LOTO procedures and placards allows faster and more accurate turnaround times. Additionally, routine safety training can also prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety and efficiency in your workplace.

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OSHA Fines Bush Brothers for Death of Worker

Eau Claire, WI –

Bush Brothers and Company in Eau Claire, WI, is facing OSHA citations and fines after the death of one of its employees at an Augusta canning factory in July 2020.

On the day of the accident, it was originally reported by WQOW-18 that Augusta PoliceAn image of the outside of a Bush Brothers factory. Shipping truck loads are in front of the factory and mountains lay in the background. responded to a call to the factory just before 9:30 a.m. on July 27th, where a 58 year old woman had reportedly suffered work related traumatic injuries. Medical measures were taken to save her life, however she was pronounced dead at the scene.

As of January 21st, WQOW-18 has reported that the employee was Mary Falk of Eau Claire, WI. OSHA has investigated the death and filed a “serious” class citation against the company, which carries a fine of $12,145. Bush Brothers is accused of failing to store material so that it remains stable against sliding and/or collapse, which falls under Standard 1910.176(b) – Handling materials – general.

At Martin Technical, we encourage safety training in all standards relevant to your work place to prevent accidents such as these.

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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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Clearwater Paper Fined for Lack of Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Neenah, WI – OSHA has proposed fines of nearly $50,000 for safety violations found at Clearwater Paper Corp. facility in Neenah, WI. Violations included a lack of procedures for the control of locking devices to prevent the operation of maclocking devices needed paper productshinery during repairs, known as lockout tagout. The company was also cited for a lack of safety guards on operating machine parts.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found nine serious violations during a December inspection of the paper mill, including those that present amputation risks. Matt Van Vleet, vice president of public affairs for the Spokane, Wash.-headquartered company, said they received notification of the violations on April 24, and company officials are in the process of review.

OSHA chose the Wisconsin mill for inspection based on its use of equipment that puts employees in danger of amputation. The administration has put an emphasis on reducing workplace machinery and equipment hazards. OSHA officials say the company and its union took immediate steps to address the issues raised during the inspection.

Clearwater Paper is the country’s largest producer of private-label tissue products, and its Wisconsin mill is one of 10 manufacturing facilities across the country.

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OSHA Fines WI Furniture Maker $1.76 Million

Arcadia, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a historic $1.766 million dollar fine this week against Ashley Furniture Industries, based in Wisconsin. Investigators documented numerous and repeated serious violations at the facility, landing Ashley Furniture on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list for “employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.”

The plant employs 4,500 and in the past 3 years has seen over 1,000 worker injuries. Workers were not adequately protected against moving machinery, most of it woodworking machinery. Lack of training and accidents with tools, blades, and saws have resulted in multiple amputations. The OSHA report and $1.76 million dollar penalty allege that Ashley Furniture “failed to safeguard against woodworking machines unintentionally starting when workers were making tool and blade changes,” which is also known as lockout tagout or control of hazardous energy.

Additional citations were issued for “not training workers on safety procedures and hazards present when servicing machinery; lacking adequate drenching facilities for workers exposed to corrosive materials; electrical safety violations; and not equipping all machines with easily-accessible emergency stop buttons.” OSHA categorizes these violations as serious since physical harm resulted from a hazard they estimate that the “employer knew or should have known [to] exist.”

“We rarely issue a fine that is more than $1 million,” commented U.S. Labor Department Assistant Secretary David Michaels. “Having 1,000 work injuries in three years is proof positive that safety in this plant needs tremendous ­improvement.” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated: “Safety and profits are not an ‘either, or’ proposition. Successful companies across this nation have both.” For its part, Ashley Furniture denies the findings, stressing that they are allegations only.

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