Machine Guarding Failure Results in Amputation

Machine guarding failure can lead to dangerous injury or amputation.Machine guarding failure led the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue ten citations to Pennsylvania-based, Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corporation. The citations came as a result of an April 2, 2016 inspection of the company’s Birdsboro facility, which was prompted by an employee injury resulting in the amputation. Of those violations issued by OSHA, two were considered “willful” and the remaining eight were considered “serious”. OSHA attached a proposed penalty of $317,477 to the aforementioned violations.

Machine guarding is a precautionary safety feature on manufacturing or other engineering equipment, usually in the form of a barrier or shield that covers hazardous areas of a machine. It’s purpose is to prevent contact with body parts or to control hazards like chips and noise from exiting the device. OSHA inspects all machine guarding failure incidents. These many times also fall into lockout-tagout policies. Repeated offenses increase fines when cited.

“Serious” violations involved:

  • Lack of an adequate system for protecting workers from machinery start-up hazards including machine guarding failure

“Willful” violations involved:

  • Failure to cover floor holes
  • Failure to implement hearing-conservation program
  • Inadequate egress signage
  • Failure to secure compressed gas cylinders
  • Failure to provide sanitary personal protective equipment
  • Failure to provide specialty foot protection at no cost
  • Failure to post confined-space signs

During the most recent inspection, OSHA also instituted follow-up examinations of previous offenses which Birdsboro Farms had incurred during inspections in, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Because Birdsboro had previously been cited for multiple violations, including machine guarding failure OSHA wanted to make sure that those previous violations were not persisting in the recent visit.

OSHA Harrisburg Area Director, Timothy Braun, said, “Birdsboro Kosher Farms is leaving its employees vulnerable to a variety of safety and health hazards that can cause serious injuries. It is critical that the company take appropriate steps to ensure worker protection at its facility. Anything less is unacceptable.”

Among the most common violations in workplaces which incorporate machinery are injuries due to a lack of proper machinery guarding. One resource that employers and machinery workers, alike, can take advantage of are OSHA-approved training and certification courses. Besides being requisite for the general industry employee, safety leaders can also utilize the training in these courses to maintain compliance within their respective companies.