Safety and OSHA News

Worker loses part of arm in shredder; OSHA fines company $570K

Just over a year ago, OSHA cited this company for machine hazard violations. Eight months later, a man lost part of his arm due to similar hazards, and the company faces a half-million dollar fine. 

Autoneum North America, an auto insulation manufacturer near Toledo, OH, faces $569,463 in proposed fines after an OSHA investigation.

OSHA investigated following a report that a machine amputated a 46-year-old worker’s right hand, wrist and part of his forearm on Dec. 23, 2016.

The agency found the injury occurred when the worker was guiding waste materials into a shredding machine. His arm was caught in the machine’s point of operation – a circular drum that shreds fabric fibers for reuse.

OSHA issued five violations:

  • a willful General Duty Clause violation because employees were exposed to hazards from projected machine components while working near two grinders ($126,749, the maximum allowed)
  • machine guarding wasn’t provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks (willful, $119,503)
  • point of operation guards weren’t designed and constructed to prevent the operator from having any part of their body in the danger zone during the operating cycle (willful, $126,749)
  • Autoneum didn’t provide training to ensure the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe operation, usage and removal of the energy controls are explained (repeat, $69,713), and
  • procedures for lockout/tagout didn’t cover the actions required by OSHA regulations (repeat, $126,749).

To prove a General Duty Clause violation, OSHA must show there are reasonable ways to abate the hazard. OSHA suggests the company should either:

  • use alternative equipment, such as chop fans, to process material, or
  • install a different model grinder which is designed for the type of material being processed.

In February 2016, OSHA cited Autoneum for similar machine hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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