The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued fines totaling $160,700 to two companies in Illinois and Ohio whose workers were exposed to a variety of hazards, including danger of amputation. In one case, a worker sustained multiple fractures to his pelvis after being crushed between two machines.
In February, after receiving word of the accident at the Youngstown, Ohio, plant of Vallourec Star, a maker of gas and oil tubing, OSHA launched an investigation that eventually uncovered 22 serious violations. These included a lack of measures to protect workers from moving machinery as well as a variety of fall hazards, with unguarded floor openings and staircases with no handrails. Damaged electrical components and forklifts were also detected.
"Manufacturers that operate dangerous machinery must be aware of the daily hazards workers face while working with this machinery," said OSHA's Cleveland area director Howard Eberts. "No worker should be injured on the job because the company failed to provide the required protections." Vallourec Star was fined $94,000.
Rohn Products of Peoria, Illinois, was issued a $66,700 fine for 11 serious violations at its steel tower manufacturing plant. Like his Cleveland counterpart, OSHA's Peoria area director Thomas Bielema emphasized that "failing to protect workers from moving machine parts can result in serious injuries, such as amputations, being caught-in and crushed by machinery."
Behavior based safety programs teach factory workers to identify safety hazards such as those posed by moving machine parts. At manufacturing plants, it is paramount that workers be safe with the machinery they operate. But it is the responsibility of the companies themselves to ensure that they comply with OSHA regulations by not exposing employees to such dangers.