The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Smithville Manufacturing Co. for 21 health and safety violations, including one willful, after receiving a complaint that a worker’s finger was amputated at the facility by an unguarded press machine.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $65,800 as a result of the December 2012 inspection.
The willful violation was cited for failing to ensure point of operation guards were in place on mechanical power presses at the stamping facility, which does short-run productions of automotive parts. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
“Smithville Manufacturing has a responsibility to follow all safety guidelines, including the use of properly adjusted and adequate machine guarding to protect workers from injuries, such as amputations,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Employers must recognize the hazards that exist in their workplaces and develop safety and health policies and procedures to protect workers on the job.”
A total of 18 serious violations were cited, nine of which involve lack of or improperly adjusted guarding on equipment, such as shears, grinders, screw machines and drill and power presses. Other violations involve failing to establish and train workers on energy control procedures; ensure employees lock out equipment prior to conducting maintenance or service; train workers on the use of fire extinguishers; establish die setting procedures; conduct weekly press inspections; develop a written hazard communication program; and train workers on the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two other-than-serious health violations were issued for failing to develop a written respiratory protection program and blood-borne pathogens program. An Other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
The company has 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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 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 Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0171.
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.