We’d all like our birthdays to be memorable … but not for this reason. Following an employee’s injury, OSHA issued almost a quarter-million dollars in fines against this company.
On his 25th birthday, an employee of Wagner’s LLC, a wild bird food manufacturer in Milford, IL, had his left hand and arm severely injured after they were caught in a moving piece of machinery. The employee was clearing birdseed from an industrial mixing tank. He had been on the job for just two months. The worker was hospitalized due to the injury.
An OSHA inspection resulted in eight violations (3 willful, 1 repeat and 4 serious) and a total of $241,680 in fines against the company.
“OSHA’s investigation found a breakdown in management, which led to this employee’s injury,” said Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria, IL. “Workers should never be at risk because safety procedures slow production.”
Wagner’s was cited for failure to:
- lock out energy sources to protect the worker from contact with rotating machine parts and to prevent the machine from turning on while the workers cleaned it (willful)
- conduct periodic inspections of written protocols related to locking out machines and didn’t train workers on these procedures (willful)
- provide machine guarding on another piece of equipment not involved in the injury (repeat – Wagner’s was previously cited for this violation at a facility in Colorado in 2011)
- provide eye protection (serious)
- take damaged electrical cords out of service (serious)
- perform fire extinguisher education (serious), and
- mark exits (serious).
OSHA also placed Wagner’s in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Lockout violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA at manufacturing plants and are a major cause of amputations.