OSHA Investigation Following Amputation Injury

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Industrial Accident, Personal Injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the January 2022 incident at a metal buildings manufacturer in Imler, Pennsylvania.  During the incident, a worker at Corle Building Systems Inc. was performing work when the worker’s hand was pulled into a machine, resulting in an amputation injury.

The OSHA investigation found that the company “willfully exposed the worker to amputation hazards.”  Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations to the company, including:

  • 29 CFR 1910.147(d)(3):All energy isolating devices that were needed to control the energy to the machine or equipment were not physically located and operated in such a manner as to isolate the machine or equipment from the energy source(s).
  • 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i):Procedures were not developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees were engaged in activities covered by this section.
  • 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(6):The employer did not conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure at least annually to ensure that the procedure and the requirements of this standard are being followed. The periodic inspection must: [A] be performed by an authorized employee other than the ones utilizing the energy control procedure being inspected. [B] be conducted to correct any deviations or inadequacies identified. [C] where lockout is used for energy control, include a review, between the inspector and each authorized employee, of that employee’s responsibilities under the energy control procedure being inspected. [D] where tag-out is used for energy control, include a review between the inspector and each authorized and affected employee, of that employee’s responsibilities under the energy control procedure being inspected, and the elements set forth in paragraph (c)(7)(ii) of this section.
  • 29 CFR 1910.147(f)(2)(i):When outside servicing personnel were engaged in activities in a facility, the onsite employer and the outside employer did not inform each other of their respective lockout or tagout procedures.
  • 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(3)(ii):Point(s) of operation of machinery were not guarded to prevent employee(s) from having any part of their body in the danger zone(s) during operating cycle(s).
  • 29 CFR 1910.145(c)(2)(i): Caution signs were not used to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices.
  • 29 CFR 1910.145(c)(2)(ii): Employees were not instructed that caution signs indicate a possible hazard against which proper precautions should be taken.

The company was fined $154,143.00 as a result of the penalties.

It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers.  It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies.  Of course, the policies and procedures must be adequately implemented.  It is more than merely having a written down procedure, companies must ensure that their workers understand and follow the guidelines that have been created.

One of the means to ensure incidents like this do not happen is through lockout/tagout procedures to control the release of hazardous energy.  OSHA provides guidelines in how to implement a lockout/tagout procedure.

OSHA also provides employers with specific guidance regarding amputations.  OSHA reminds companies regarding their responsibilities:

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers must protect workers from amputation hazards through adequate guarding and employee training on how to do the job safely.

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Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.