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OSHA investigates 2 amputation work injury incidents at 1 site

California workers in industrial industries may not always be aware of the multitude of safety hazards they are exposed to every day. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently investigated a manufacturing plant in another state after two workers each suffered an amputation work injury. It is alarming that investigators found multiple safety violations and issued no less than 22 citations.

The OSHA investigation at the plastic manufacturer was launched after a worker lost two fingers while trying to remove bits of material that had jammed the shearing machine that is used for cutting plastic. The investigators arrived at the plant about two weeks after the incident and learned that a similar accident had also occurred the previous day. They were now investigating two amputation injuries.

Investigators found that no procedures existed for preventing equipment from unexpectedly starting up while being serviced or undergoing maintenance, and moving parts of the machines were also not guarded. In addition to the amputation risk violations, citations were also issued for the company's failure to protect workers who were exposed to high noise levels, and the company provided no fall protection to workers. No measures were taken to protect workers against excessively high temperatures, and an explosion hazard existed where acetylene and oxygen cylinders were stored together.

OSHA reported that the company had been cited for the latter two violations at another facility in December, and it remarked that this seems to be a case of profits before safety. Many California workers are exposed to similar hazards on a daily basis. After suffering a work injury, medical expenses and lost income can be detrimental to a family's financial stability. Fortunately, financial assistance is available from the workers' compensation insurance fund. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, benefits for temporary or permanent disabilities may be considered.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Company facing six-figure fines after 2 employees suffer amputations", Sept. 2, 2015

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