Inadequate Machine Guarding Leads to Fatality

Inadequate machine guarding leads to fatality

CANTON, OH– TimkenSteel, a steel manufacturer, was cited with inadequate machine guarding following a fatality of an employee in Canton, OH. The failure to install guards or provide proper hand tools to employees, led to entanglement hazards while operating a bar straightener machine.

Founded in 1917 as the steel business of The Timken Roller Bearing Company, the parent company to TimkenSteel, is a leading producer of carbon steel, alloy and micro-alloy steel in specialty bars, mechanical tubing, and other products used in the automotive, industrial, and energy markets. The company employs 1,800 workers.

Violations and Citations

During the investigation, OSHA determined the worker was operating the machine when he was entangled on a piece of steel bar stock that was rotating at high speeds. The entanglement of the employee with the steel bar stock ultimately led to fatal injuries. Upon further investigation, inspectors found the safety equipment provided to employees to manipulate the steel on the machines was not in compliance with the machine requirements. And because proper equipment and safety procedures were not in place, the employee’s limbs became exposed to the danger zones of the steel rotating machine.

OSHA cited the steel manufacturer with two willful and two serious citations, which resulted in over $315K in penalties. The serious violations were cited due to lack of guarding on horizontal drive shafts and knuckles, and walking-working surfaces that exposed workers to slip and fall hazards from oil coolant leaks and spills.

“A worker’s life might have been spared if Timken Steel safeguarded dangerous machinery as required by law,” said OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “This company identified the safety issue that exposed workers using this machine to serious hazards but failed to make it safe.”

Key Takeaways

OSHA sources state that workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year.

Until there are no more workplace fatalities, it is critical companies remain vigilant with their safety procedures. If machine guarding procedures were in place, this workplace fatality could have been prevented. Martin Technical offers machine guarding safety training and program development along with other pertinent safety trainings to ensure the highest level of workplace safety.  Find out how Martin Technical can ensure every employee makes it home safely at the end of the day.

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OSHA Urges Stronger Electrical Safety

OSHA Urges Stronger Electrical Safety

KANSAS CITY, MO ‒ Amid a national increase in workplace deaths by electrocution, OSHA urges employers to emphasize stronger electrical safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 3.75 percent increase – 166 workplace deaths related to electrocution – in 2019 over the previous year. From November 2018 through October 2021, OSHA investigated 12 electrical-related deaths in Missouri and Kansas.

Electrical Hazards Killed Four Workers In Midwest

Electrical hazards killed four workers in Missouri and Kansas within five months in 2021. Fatal accidents occurred in Missouri while a 40-year-old electrical contractor replaced light fixtures in Sedalia. On Sept. 23, a 22-year-old worker was killed when cleaning a Higbee pig barn with a pressure washer. Another tragic electrical accident happened in Wichita, Kansas when a 41-year-old worked with heating and air conditioning equipment. A month earlier, electrical hazards proved fatal to a 35-year-old electrical contractor while climbing a pole in Lawrence, Kansas. Their stories and circumstances may differ, but the cause of death is the same – electrocution.

While OSHA continues its investigations of these employer-reported deaths, the agency urges the Midwest employers to emphasize electrical safety practices.

“Recent tragedies in Missouri and Kansas are reminders of the danger of electrical exposures in the workplace. OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees from electric shock and electrocution,” said OSHA’s Acting Regional Administrator Billie Kizer in Kansas City, Missouri. “Employers should implement safety and health programs, and are required to train workers on identifying hazards and use required protective measures to ensure all employees end each workday safely,” he continued.

Hazard Recognition, Safety Audits, and Training Can Enhance Electrical Safety

Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales personnel, work with electricity indirectly but may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

Many workers are unaware of the potential electrical hazards present in their workplace, making them more vulnerable to electrocution. The following hazards are the most frequent causes of electrical injuries: contact with power lines, lack of ground-fault protection, the path to ground missing or discontinuous, equipment not used per manufacture specifications, and improper use of extension and flexible cords.

Employers may implement various solutions to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury associated with electrical work. Examples of solutions include the use of insulation, guarding, grounding, electrical protective devices, and safe work practices. It is recommended employers conduct periodic electrical safety inspections to identify potentially hazardous electrical situations and provide corrective actions. The electrical safety audit also helps determine safety compliance, electrical safety work processes, maintenance tools and identifies potential cost savings and inefficiencies.

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Electrical Safety Resources:

Possible Solutions to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury associated with electrical work.

Electrical Contractors Industry Provides information about the hazards that electrical workers may experience as a part of their jobs.

Working Safely Near Overhead Power Lines Safe work practices to prevent injuries from contact with power lines.


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Pallet Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources

Pallet Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources

HENDERSON, TX – Following a fatal injury suffered by an 86-year-old worker, the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA opened an investigation. The worker had fallen from a stack of pallets at W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. The manufacturer has been family-owned and operated since 1943, with its private fleet of commercial transportation equipment.

OSHA Cited the Manufacturer Exposed Workers to Hazardous Energy Sources 

The federal investigation at this Henderson sawmill and pallet manufacturer found the company exposed workers to hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guarding.

OSHA cited the company for willful violations for failing to use energy control procedures and implement a hearing conservation program, as required by law. The agency also issued citations for serious violations for lack of machine guarding, failing to use personal protective equipment, not addressing the hazards from operating powered industrial trucks, and neglecting to notify OSHA within 8 hours of a work-related fatality as required. The lumber company faces $389,706 in proposed penalties.

“Sawmill operations can be hazardous work, but it should not be life-threatening,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. “W.D. Townley and Son Lumber Company Inc. showed a complete disregard for their employees’ well-being. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they neglect their legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

Key Takeaways

Proper Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. Employers must train workers in the purpose and function of the energy control program. In addition, workers have to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to safely apply, use, and remove energy control devices.

In summary, establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout/Tagout program that includes precise lockout procedures for all workers is essential. Partnering with certified lockout technicians allows faster and more accurate turnaround time on developing LOTO procedures and placards. Routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your workplace.

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Learn more about:

Machine Guarding

Lockout/Tagout Procedures 

Safety and Compliance Requirements for Forklifts

Powered Industrial Truck Safety

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