Safety and OSHA News

Safety device bypassed: Worker dead, $137K OSHA fine

A company faces $137,180 in OSHA fines for violations found after a worker was killed after he became entangled in a machine’s moving parts. 

OSHA issued two violations to Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. of Cedarburg, WI:

  • a willful violation because machine guarding wasn’t provided to protect operators from hazards created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks ($124,709), and
  • a serious violation because a personal lockout/tagout device wasn’t affixed to the group lockout device, group lockbox or comparable mechanism when a machine was being maintained ($12,471).

OSHA says a 36-year-old lathe operator, identified as Steven Volkmann by the company, became entangled in the machine’s operating spindle on March 15, 2016. Volkmann suffered injuries that led to his death two days later. He’d worked for the company for two years.

The agency says safety interlocks on the lathe were bypassed.

Carlson’s CEO, Jerry Edquist, released a statement: “Carlson Tool & Manufacturing has implemented a number of new worker safety initiatives as a result of the tragic accident earlier this year involving our colleague Steve Volkmann. These improvements have added to a vigorous safety and training program aimed at helping ensure safe operations at our facility in Cedarburg. During the OSHA review, we cooperated fully and will continue to do so as we work through the final resolution of this matter.”

Carlson has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

A note: The proposed fines in this case are the new maximums initiated by federal OSHA at the beginning of August. The maximum fine for a willful violation is now $124,709, up from $70,000. The maximum for a fined for a serious violation is now $12,471, up from $7,000.

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