OSHA Squeezes Employer, Issues Fines of $68,700.

OSHA proposes fines of over $68,000 for an employer, following the July 25 crushing death of a worker.

Following the July 25 crushing death of a worker who became caught between the frame and a moving column in a milling machine, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines of $68,700 against a Canton, Mass., manufacturer.

Tuthill Vacuum Systems was cited for 21 alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act for numerous hazards, including failing to adequately guard the machine to prevent employees from coming in contact with its rotating and reciprocating parts.

"The inspection found that a guard located on the back side of the machine in question was inadequate in that it did not prevent workers from entering the machine while it was operating," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "This exposed the deceased and any other worker who entered the machine to crushing injuries, just the type of hazard machine guarding is supposed to prevent."

OSHA's inspection also identified several other machine guarding deficiencies as well as hazards involving damaged, ungrounded, misused or exposed live electrical parts or equipment; lack of an emergency eyewash station where required; failure to inspect crane slings and ropes; unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals; excess noise levels; and failure to train employees in hazardous energy control.

In all, Tuthill Vacuum Systems was cited for 20 alleged serious violations, with $68,700 in proposed fines, for violations such as:

  • Inadequate guarding of rotating and reciprocating parts on machinery;
  • Unguarded points of operation on machinery;
  • Unguarded shafting, an inadequately guarded fan, and a guard not firmly affixed to a machine;
  • Dispensing of flammable liquid into an unapproved container, emergency eyewash station not provided for a worker handling caustic chemicals, and having two containers of toluene and alcohol not labeled with their identities and respective hazard warnings; and
  • Failure to establish written hazardous energy control procedures; failure to train affected employees on energy control procedures; failure to adequately train authorized employees on lockout/tagout requirements.

The company also received one alleged other-than-serious violation for failing to remove a damaged sling from service.

edited by Sandy Smith

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