PATERSON, N.J. -- After entering a die cutting machine to do maintenance, a worker employed for 26 years at Accurate Box Co. Inc. in Paterson was crushed when the die cutter was activated by another employee unaware that the victim was inside. A subsequent investigation into the incident, which caused severe internal injuries to the worker, was initiated in May 2014 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The investigation found that Accurate Box failed to prevent inadvertent machine startup and similar incidents because it had not implemented an effective lockout/tagout program. The manufacturer of corrugated cardboard boxes was cited by OSHA for the third time since 2010 for machine guarding hazards and lockout/tagout deficiencies at its Paterson manufacturing plant.
'This case clearly highlights why lockout/tagout and machine guarding measures are essential, especially in preventing amputation and crushing injuries,' said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. 'If OSHA's safety standards for machinery were implemented, this incident would not have occurred.'
OSHA found that machine guarding was not provided to protect the machine operator, and it cited the employer for one repeat violation, carrying a $13,860 penalty. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Additionally, four serious violations related to lockout/tagout deficiencies were cited. These violations carry a $27,720 penalty. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office at 201-288-1700.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.