Workers' Injuries Trigger Heavy Fines for N.H. Manufacturer

A New Hampshire-based manufacturer's alleged failure to protect workers against amputations and other injuries from unguarded moving machine parts has resulted in $112,250 in fines from OSHA.

HCP Packaging USA Inc. was cited for two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations of federal workplace safety standards. The citations and fines resulted from an OSHA inspection that started on Oct. 12, 2005, in response to a complaint that indicated workers had suffered serious injuries from unguarded machinery throughout the plant.

OSHA's inspection found that numerous machines including stamping machines, cappers and welders were unguarded or inadequately guarded against employees coming in contact with moving parts, and that the plant also lacked a program, procedures and employee training for shutting down molding machines and locking out their power source before employees changed dies or performed maintenance.

"The lack of these basic and vital safeguards exposed employees to laceration, amputation, crushing and other potentially fatal or disabling injuries," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "The company knew these worker protections were required but apparently chose to ignore them."

As a result of these alleged conditions, OSHA fined HCP $100,000 for the lack of machine guarding and the absence of a lockout/tagout program. An additional $12,250 in fines were proposed for five serious citations concerning lack of personal protective equipment; unguarded energized electrical equipment; unguarded shafting; and lack of hearing protection or a hearing conservation program.

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