OSHA Cites Hagel Metal Fabrication After Worker Fatally Crushed
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has placed Hagel Metal Fabrication in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after an automated laser-cutting machine fatally crushed a 23-year-old worker. The investigation that followed the incident led workers to make formal complaints that prompted additional OSHA inspections. In the end, 12 safety and health violations were found as a result of the inquiries.
“The company failed to implement the most basic of safety precautions – and the result was a terrible tragedy. This case demonstrates an egregious disregard of worker safety and health,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.”
Several of the violations OSHA cited Hagel Metal Fabrication for were willful violations. Willful violations are any violation committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the requirements of the law or indifference to employee safety and health. One such violation that OSHA cited Hagel for was for exposing employees to amputation hazards while operating a power press brake, because the guard had not been set up properly.
The fines OSHA proposed for Hagel Metal Fabrication’s violations total $317,000. Since 1989, OSHA has inspected the metal manufacturer seven times, resulting in 23 citations for willful and serious violations for exposing workers to amputation injuries and machine guarding hazards.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if the company ensured adequate machine guarding, effective lockout-tagout procedures and worker training on hazards,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “The company willfully violated OSHA’s Machine Guarding Standard, compromising worker safety and well-being.”
The very least that a business owes its workers is to provide them with a safe work environment. When a company cannot even manage that, something must be done to help protect its employees and prevent tragedies such as this.
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Did You Know?: In 2011, almost 90 people a week or nearly 13 people a day were killed on the job.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys