The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined a Cincinnati-based bakery $146,979 for one willful and two serious violations. OSHA inspectors found the safety violations while they were investigating an amputation injury that had occurred five weeks prior.
According to OSHA, a 28-year-old maintenance worker lost part of his right arm while servicing an unguarded bread wrapping machine. The worker was cleaning the machine with an air wand when the accident occurred.
Investigators discovered the company allowed other workers to access this machine without adhering to lockout/tagout procedures. Amputation injuries are one of the many consequences that can be caused by unguarded and energized machinery.
Can Lockout/Tagout Procedures Prevent An Amputation Injury?
Lockout/tagout procedures involve protecting workers from the unexpected startup of machinery or moving parts. Powered equipment should always be isolated from its energy source so it cannot start up while workers are performing maintenance.
This can be done with lockout devices, which are energy isolation devices capable of preventing equipment from turning on. In addition, workers can use tagout devices, which connect to energy-isolating devices. Workers cannot operate equipment until tagout devices have been removed.
Hundreds of workers suffer amputation injuries every year while servicing machinery and moving parts. Many of these injuries occur because businesses are not utilizing lockout/tagout procedures or equipment. If these procedures are implemented, businesses can help prevent amputation injuries. Equipment with moving parts should also use guards to cover points of operation, where cutting, shaping and boring may occur.
Workers who have suffered injuries from moving parts should contact a Columbus workers compensation attorney
to explore possible options for benefits.