The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Ohio railroad track repair kit manufacturer, Railtech Boutet Inc., for repeatedly exposing their employees to amputation risks and other serious injuries and hazards.
Following a July 2016 investigation, prompted by a complaint, OSHA determined that Railtech was responsible for (1) willful and (11) serious safety and health violations. The majority of potential amputation risks were found in servicing processes that were regularly performed by employees, in an effort to maintain industrial core machine mixers. OSHA proposed penalties of $159,631.
The OSHA investigation showed that the following violations existed:
- Failure to develop procedures to power down and lock out operating parts (lockout/tagout)
- Failure to conduct air monitoring for contaminants
- Failure to implement a hearing conservation program
- Failure to install gates and guardrails at ladder way openings and around dangerous equipment
- Failure to guard operating parts of mixing equipment
- Failure to cover electrical junction boxes and unused openings in circuit breaker panels
- Failure to install an eyewash station near corrosive material
- Failure to develop a hazard communication program
- Failure to store flammable liquid properly
OSHA Toledo area director, Kim Nelson, said, “All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and bypass them to speed production. Additionally, employers working with processes that can expose workers to silica, noise, and other corrosive material must have procedures in place to minimize and monitor such exposure to ensure the long-term health of workers.”
In workplaces that deal with potentially fatal machines, adherence to energy control measures is critical. Adequate employee training in the operation of machines, including lockout/tagout, machine guarding and other basic safety procedures can reduce injury and amputation risks. One resource that employers can utilize to maintain safety standards compliance and the health of their employees is an OSHA-approved training course to familiarize the worker with the various potentials for hazards and the ways that injuries can be prevented.