In the latest incident, a mold-tilting machine used to produce aluminum parts crushed a 53-year-old worker’s left hand between the center core and bottom plate at General Aluminum Mfg. Company’s Conneaut facility. He now has limited use of the hand and has been unable to return to work since the March 23, 2016, injury. In 2013 and 2015, four workers suffered amputations, in separate incidents, as a result of machine safety violations at the company facilities in Wapokaneta, Ravenna and Conneaut.
On Sept. 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for two repeated, and two serious violations of machine safety standards, as a result of the worker’s injury. OSHA has proposed penalties of $218,244.
“General Aluminum has written an unfortunate legacy of failing to protect its workers from machine hazards,” said Howard Eberts, area director of OSHA’s Cleveland office. “All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features. Each year hundreds of workers suffer crushing injuries and amputations. The company needs to immediately address its legacy of worker injuries and make immediate improvements to its procedures, training and monitoring of machine safety procedures to ensure they are effective.”
An investigation into the March incident by federal inspectors found General Aluminum allowed workers to service the mold table without powering it down or locking out machine parts to prevent workers from coming in contact with gravitational energy from moving machine parts.
OSHA’s inspection found the company routinely failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts from gravitational, hydraulic and electrical energy sources. The injured worker was training a co-worker on procedures when the injury occurred.
The company was cited for machine safety violations following injuries at its facility in Wapokaneta in April 2015 and at its Ravenna facility in March 2015. Those violations remain under contest.
Injuries were also reported at the Conneaut facility in September 2013 and the Ravenna Plant in August 2013. The company has settled those violations with OSHA.
Based in Cleveland, General Aluminum Mfg. is a full-service aluminum die casting supplier to a wide variety of industries including the automotive, agricultural, industrial, and appliance industries which operates five facilities in Indiana and Ohio. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Cleveland Area Office at (216) 447-4194.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.