Machine Guarding Safety Issues Lead to OSHA Citations Over $200,000

Machine Guarding Safety Issues lead to multiple citations at Wisconsin ManufacturerAfter discovery of multiple violations regarding machine guarding safety, on January 18th, 2017, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Wisconsin-based muffler component manufacturer, Bay Fabrication. The citations were for multiple infractions, including, two serious, one willful, one repeat, and one other-than-serious violations, for incidents which occurred at a Green Bay facility. The violations came as the result of an investigations stemming from two separate incidents which occurred in the span of ten days and involved debilitating injuries. In the case of both injuries, OSHA determined that the root cause was that employees were operating machinery without adequate safety guards and were not observing safety procedures. For these citations, the proposed penalties are, $219,242. Bay Fabrication is part of the group, Bay Family of Companies, which operate 40 companies across 75 different locations in the United States.

The two different incidents which were investigated by OSHA occurred on July 21, 2016 and July 30, 2016, respectively.

Many of the violations centered around machine guarding safety practices. On July 21st, 2016, a Bay Fabrication employee was operating a molding machine. The employee was removing a mold from the machine, when the tamp head smashed his hand. OSHA investigation determined that the safety interlock on the machine door was damaged and non-functional. As a result of the equipment damage, the safety guard was disabled and the injury was not averted.

In a previous inspection involving similar machine guarding safety violations on July 30th, 2016, a Bay Fabrication employee was operating a molding machine. The employee’s left middle-finger was caught in an unguarded pinch-point, as the molding machine was cycling. The employee suffered the partial amputation of his left middle-finger. OSHA investigation determined that the molding machine was not locked-out, as required.

OSHA determined that the following violations existed:

  • Failure to guard operating parts on various machines
  • Failure to properly install safety guards on machines
  • Failure to maintain illness and injury log

 

OSHA Appleton area director, Robert Bonack, said, “The fact that two workers suffered debilitating injuries is tragic. The reality is that the company failed to re-evaluate its machine safety procedures and continued to expose other workers to the same hazards even after these injuries. Adequate and properly installed machine safety guards and lock-out/tag-out procedures must be in place to prevent workers from coming in contact with operating parts.”

Compliance with basic procedures for machine guarding safety, such as the maintenance of an illness and injury log and the implementation of the lock-out/tag-out procedure when operating machinery, are easy measures to prevent potentially catastrophic incidents, such as amputation or death. One resource that safety leaders can utilize, to that end, is an online OSHA training course.

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