Safety and OSHA News

Company fined $116,000 for fatality; employee crushed

Here’s a story you can share with employees and supervisors about why lockout/tagout is so important:

It’s too often a matter of life or death.

OSHA has fined Buckhorn, Inc. $116,000 in connection with a Oct. 7, 2009 fatality at its Springfield, MO, plant.

Tobby Hall, a 31-year-old father of four, was inside a plastic injection molding machine. However, a co-worker thought Hall had gone to get a tool.

The co-worker started the machine, and Hall was crushed to death.

OSHA says the workers shouldn’t have been allowed to work on the machine without it being locked and tagged out.

Buckhorn has been cited for one willful and 15 serious violations.

The willful violation is for failure to ensure the plastic injection molding machine was locked out when employees were performing maintenance inside the machine.

OSHA also found a variety of serious violations involving obstructed emergency exits, confined spaces and a lack of training.

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  1. SafetyMan says:

    Regarding your Quick Vote results that most respondents think “business owners and managers be sent to prison when lax workplace safety results in deaths.” With whom does the laxity reside? If the business owner or manager is compliant in their employee safety training and an employee pulls a bonehead move by ignoring the training, then to punish the owner or manager with jail time is ludicrous. If they did everything right by upholding their end of the safety training, then the employee must be accountable for not upfolding their end. While employees can be trained to work safely, they cannot be trained to acquire common sense.

  2. I agree with SafetyMan as you can’t fix stupid. But in the same context I believe if a company doesn’t have a Safe Work Practices focus, that they don’t perform or document required training and they don’t have a history of auditing and enforcing safe work practices then a bonehead mistake is going to be made. In that example I would agree to holding the Managers accountable. They have the absolute responsibility for instilling the safety focus in their employees and ensuring it is being followed. I have found several organizations that have become very safety lax because they have not had a major accident and feel a good recordable record is an example of their Safety work focus. Once the accident happens and OSHA steps in it’s too late.

  3. I agree with both comments, but judging by the information provided, the employer was cited for willfull and 15 serious vialations. If these were pertinent to the fatality, then that tells me they are not training and they are not auditing their program and jail time of minor length should be applied. We work hard at traing, put certificates / cards in the employee’s hands/files particularly with confined space, LOTO, excavation etc. If you have an employee who has a ‘brain fart’ in both instances, and they’ve been trainined (proven), then no jail time.

  4. Pete

    After over 30 years supervising and trying to enforce Safety Management on a daily basis the term you coined “brain fart” could actually be a step up. Some staff are actual genius’s at being careless and leaving common sense home and also having “Selective amnesia”. In spite of this we preach Safety and for the most part we are successful as our accident/injury stats are low.

    To be clear I believe in Safety at all levels on every task. I am very aware (from my own life having to watch the person I loved slowly die from a chemical exposure that could have been easily and cheaply prevented. Also while that was happening in my home my Mom was trying to Nurse my Dad through brain and lung cancer from smoke inhalation. My dad was a fireman for over 25 years and had to retire early due to lung problems from smoke inhallation. When he was a fireman they were expected to protect property and people from fire and smoke but were issued no equipment or training.). So I have first hand experiances on what happens when Safety Management is not a priority and how not having or following Safety Procedures can save lives or prevent injuries that can have (to put it mildly) life changing results. So two of the people I loved most in the world were killed by the lack of Safety Management in two seperate and unrelated feilds. That is what is hard to press home with folk that this can happen to anyone in any feild.

    I truly wish the “selective amenesia brain farting” people could understand in their hearts and minds just how painfull it is when a person is mortally injured or killed through a lack of Safety Management . Although frequently I wonder if even that could help………….

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