OSHA fines may not be the only penalty faced by a company where a 14-year-old boy’s hand was cut off in a wood planer.
The safety agency has issued 17 serious violations totaling $43,200 to Shady Knob Pallet Co. in Middlefield, OH, in connection with the life-altering injury that occurred on March 31.
OSHA says the teen touched the operating parts of a wood planer used in the manufacture of pallets, and the machine cut off his hand. Inspectors say the wood planer was one of several machines that didn’t have required safety guards.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is also investigating. “Workers under age 18 are prohibited from operating power-driven woodworking machinery,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland.
Besides missing safety guards, the 17 serious violations include failure to:
- train staff to provide first aid
- establish an exposure control plan for employees exposed to blood during first aid
- teach employees about workplace chemical hazards
- provide and train workers on the use of personal protective equipment
- store flammable liquids correctly
- use self-closing valves on gasoline drums used to power equipment, and
- install electrical equipment properly.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the violations to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
What work teens can and can’t do
The U.S. DOL provides the following guidelines regarding working teens:
Kids under 14 are only allowed to:
- deliver newspapers to customers
- babysit on a casual basis
- work as an actor or performer in movies, TV, radio or theater
- work as a homeworker gathering evergreens and making evergreen wreaths, and
- work for a business owned entirely by your parents as long as it is not in mining, manufacturing or any of 17 specific hazardous occupations.
Teens who are 14 or 15 can work in:
- retail occupations
- intellectual or creative work such as computer programming, teaching, tutoring, singing, acting, or playing an instrument
- errands or delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transportation
- clean-up and yard work which does not include using power-driven mowers, cutters, trimmers, edgers, or similar equipment
- work in connection with cars and trucks such as dispensing gasoline or oil and washing or hand polishing
- some kitchen and food service work including reheating food, washing dishes, cleaning equipment, and limited cooking
- cleaning vegetables and fruits, wrapping sealing, and labeling, weighing, pricing, and stocking of items when performed in areas separate from a freezer or meat cooler
- loading or unloading objects for use at a worksite including rakes, hand-held clippers, and shovels
- sawmills and wood shops (limited, non-hazardous tasks only), and
- 15-year-olds who meet certain requirements can perform lifeguard duties at traditional swimming pools and water amusement parks.
Finally, teens who are 16 or 17 can perform any job that hasn’t been declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The DOL has a list of the 17 hazardous types of jobs on its website.