OSHA proposes $112,000 in penalties for workers exposed to amputation hazards

Manufacturer cited for requiring employees to operate machinery where guards had been removed.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Mar 12, 2014

 

Gaspar Inc., a boiler manufacturer, has been cited for two willful violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Proposed penalties total $112,000.

OSHA’s investigation found the company was requiring employees to operate two press brakes and a horizontal boring machine where the machine guards had been removed. Machine guarding protects workers from lacerations, caught-in and amputation hazards.

“It is unacceptable that Gaspar would expose workers to the hazards of unguarded machinery each day,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “The company was previously cited for these hazards. Then, it removed protections it had installed. These actions demonstrate a willful lack of concern for employee safety. Injuries involving machinery and equipment often result in death or permanent disability, and OSHA continues to focus on identifying and eliminating these types of hazards.”

OSHA issued two willful citations for lack of machine guarding on a horizontal boring mill and two press brakes.

OSHA last inspected the company in 2011 and cited the same violations. Gaspar had provided documentation showing that guarding had been installed on the equipment. OSHA’s latest investigation found the company had removed the installed guarding.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

Due to the violations found at the site, the company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.

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 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 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.