Machine Guarding Violations Cited At Texas Plant

Machine guarding violations at a Johns Manville Plant in Texas led to an amputation of a severly injured hand.Machine Guarding was the central point of interest in a recent investigation involving a serious injury.  Colorado-based manufacturing company, Johns Manville, was fined $49,600 this week for multiple violations yielded by an OSHA investigation, following an accident which resulted in an employee’s hand being severed. The accident occurred at Johns Manville’s 400-employee plant, located in Cleburne, TX. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration received reports of the accident in February.

According to an OSHA press release, the worker, a 34-year-old man, was trying to clear a jam in a machine and suffered an injury to his hand which necessitated amputation. OSHA’s Fort Worth area director, Jack A. Rector, said in a press release. “Johns Manville’s flawed procedures to control hazardous energy sources and a lack of machine guards ultimately led to an amputation. The company should have evaluated its lockout/tag-out program and provided proper machine guarding. It is simply unacceptable that a thirty-four year old father of four young children suffered a gruesome injury and has had his life forever changed by an incident that was preventable.”

The citations which OSHA levied were as follows:

  • Lack of machine guarding on a conveyor
  • Unguarded and protruding shaft on a conveyor
  • Lack of methodology, regarding shut down and securing of equipment
  • Failure to train employees on hazardous energy risks

Among the citations, those two, involving the lack of machine guards and an unguarded/protruding conveyor shaft, were repeat offenses. OSHA has cited Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, for similar violations at its facilities in Ohio and New Jersey. Eric Brown, a spokesman for the company, issued a statement. “The health and safety of our employees is a top priority,” said Brown. “We will work through OSHA’s administrative process to appropriately address the issues raised by the agency.”

It is imperative that employees and supervisors at work sites which manage heavy machinery undergo safety training commensurate with OSHA standards and regulations.