The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Optimum Plastics Inc. for $81,000 in proposed penalties. The proposed fines are attached to three safety violations imposed upon Optimum Plastics after four workers at its Delaware, Ohio packaging plant suffered forearm fractures due to inadequate guarding on winder machines they were operating, according to an OSHA regional news release.
The injuries occurred in January, February and April of this year and May of last year. In each case, the worker had his or her forearm pulled into the winder machine, resulting in the fracture of both bones in that forearm. In addition to these four injuries, OSHA discovered while reviewing Optimum Plastics’ injury reports and medical records during its March complaint inspection that, at least, 15 other workers have suffered less severe injuries while operating winder machines there in the past five years.
“Optimum Plastics made no effort to provide adequate machine guarding, even after multiple employees suffered injuries while operating this equipment,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA area director in Columbus. “That is unacceptable. Companies must be aware of the hazards that exist in their facilities and take all possible precautions to minimize the risk of injury.”
The three violations Optimum Plastics was cited for included a willful violation and a serious violation. The willful violation, which is a violation committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, was for failing to have adequate machine guarding on the winder machines. The serious violation, which is a violation committed if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists, was for installing ring guards on winder machines that prevented workers from readily activating the emergency stop buttons.
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