Why Did OSHA Fine This Bearing Manufacturer $70,000?
Last month, a 42-year-old worker at The Timken Company, which is a bearing and power transmission manufacturing company, sustained an injury while trying to troubleshoot an equipment malfunction. According to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the worker reached for a part on a conveyer belt right as an unguarded moving part on the belt lowered, pinching the worker’s finger. The resulting abrasions the worker sustained required an amputation of the worker’s left ring finger. Given that the machine part on the conveyer belt was unguarded, OSHA cited the company $70,000.
This is unfortunately not Timken’s first run-in with OSHA. The company has received two citations in the last five years for machine guarding violations. Moreover, TimkenSteel is a subsidiary of The Timken Company and has also received citations for serious workplace safety violations in the past.
How Can Employers Help Prevent Amputation Injuries?
According to a statement released by OSHA’s Toledo area director, 759 workers suffered from preventable amputation injuries. However, OSHA has strict requirements in place that can help prevent these types of injuries. Workers should be trained on how to identify mechanical components and mechanical motions that can occur near the components and pose an amputation hazard. More specifically, the following components that can cause amputation injuries include the following:
The Point of Operation is the part of the machine that performs work, such as cutting, forming, boring and shaping
Power Transmission Apparatuses are parts of a mechanical system that transmits energy, including flywheels, belts, couplings, connecting rods, cams, gears, pulleys or spindles
Other Moving Parts include rotating parts, reciprocating parts, transverse moving parts or auxiliary parts
A publication released by OSHA shows that machine safeguarding is the best way to control or eliminate amputation hazards for stationary work and all employers must use them to protect workers. Additionally, workers must be trained to recognize these hazards and avoid them.
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