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Worker Amputation Investigation Reveals Ohio Carpet Manufacturer’s Repeated Safety Neglect: Practical Tips for Workplace Safety

Ohio Carpet Manufacturer Faces OSHA Penalties for Safety Violations

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that an Ohio carpet manufacturer, UGN Inc., ignored safety standards, leading to a worker’s partial finger amputation during cleaning operations. As a result, OSHA has proposed $234,376 in penalties and named UGN Inc. a severe violator.

Safety Violations Uncovered

The investigation revealed that workers at UGN Inc. were exposed to operating machine parts while clearing excess fiber material off chains, sprockets, and other equipment. The manufacturing cells containing rotating drums, hot air boxes, burn boxes, chains, and sprockets were only enclosed on three sides, allowing workers to walk inside and around the equipment.

UGN Inc. was cited for three repeat and four serious violations, including:

  1. Failure to provide or require the use of machine-specific lockout procedures
  2. Lack of machine guarding on rotating drums
  3. Failure to train employees in lockout procedures
  4. Not providing workers with heat-resistant personal protective equipment

The lack of machine safety procedures put workers at risk of burns and injuries from machinery, including broken bones. This incident marks another in a series of safety violations for UGN Inc. over the past three years.

UGN Inc. Faces Penalties and Enforcement Program

As a result of the safety violations, UGN Inc. faces $234,376 in proposed OSHA penalties and has been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. This program allows OSHA to expand its enforcement efforts to ensure the company prioritizes worker safety.

UGN Inc. has 15 business days to comply with the citations and penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Implementing Safety Measures in the Workplace

Workplace safety should be a top priority for all employers. To prevent accidents and injuries, it is crucial to implement the following safety measures:

1. Follow Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Ensure that machine-specific lockout procedures are in place and followed. Lockout/tagout procedures help prevent accidental startup of machinery during maintenance or cleaning, protecting workers from hazardous energy sources.

2. Install Machine Guarding

Proper machine guarding, such as covers and barriers, should be installed to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving parts or hazardous areas of machinery. This includes rotating drums, belts, and other equipment.

3. Provide Training on Lockout Procedures

All employees should receive thorough training on lockout procedures to ensure they understand how to properly isolate machinery from energy sources before performing maintenance or cleaning tasks.

4. Supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Workers should be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment, such as heat-resistant gear, to protect them from exposure to high temperatures or other potential hazards in the workplace.

By implementing these safety measures, employers can create a safer work environment and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

For more information on OSHA’s lockout/tagout procedures, visit their official website. Prioritizing worker safety is not only a legal responsibility but also a vital aspect of maintaining a productive and healthy workplace.

Reference: US Department of Labor investigation of worker amputation finds Ohio carpet manufacturer again ignored safety standards

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