After a worker’s hand was crushed by a 150-ton mechanical power press last fall, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Superior Rolling Co. for four serious safety violations. All of the citations stemmed from the company’s failure to protect workers from laceration, caught-in and amputation hazards.
OSHA’s investigation centered on the company’s power presses, which are used to assemble metal or other materials for the automotive industry, as well as others. Superior Rolling Co. was cited for violations of machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures, both repeat violations.
Power presses work by shearing and punching metal pieces into shape. Power presses are one of the most frequent causes of laceration and amputation due to their power, size and speed.
Machine guards are the first line of defense against worker injury. OSHA recommends a number of different machine guard options based on the equipment in your workplace.
Presence sensing devices will stop a machine if they sense a disturbance in the sensing field, which could be a hand or arm. Two-hand controls require both hands to operate, so if one of the hands is removed, the machine stops running.
By allowing the workers to operate the equipment without proper machine guard protection, management significantly increases the chance that workers could be seriously or permanently injured.
Lockout/tagout procedures are another important step to protecting workers from all sorts of different workplace hazards, including laceration, electrocution and burns. These procedures make sure that machinery undergoing maintenance or repair is clearly marked and removed from power sources. If the company fails to implement lockout/tagout procedures, defective machinery may start without warning, resulting in burned or crushed limbs.
OSHA's area director in Cleveland calls the repeat violations “inexcusable”. "Safety precautions are vital when operating power presses because injuries involving this machinery and equipment often result in death or permanent disability, as it tragically did in this incident," said the OSHA representative.
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Injuries resulting in amputation can be a life-changing injury for most workers. Depending on the severity, the injury could keep you from ever working again in your chosen industry. Do not let your employers put their interests above your health. Call Larrimer & Larrimer today to discuss your workplace injury or workers comp claim. Help us fight for your right to a safe work environment.
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—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys