OSHA Fines Missouri Manufacturer $511,000 Following Worker Fatality

OSHA has cited Loren Cook Co., a manufacturer in of Springfield, Mo., with seven alleged willful and three alleged serious violations after a worker was killed by an ejected machine part on May 13, 2009.

"Loren Cook Co. willfully allowed its employees to work on dangerous equipment without safeguarding the machinery and exposed workers to debris ejected while operating manual spinning lathes," said acting Assistant Secretary for OSHA Jordan Barab. "It is imperative that employers take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment."

Seven instance-by-instance willful citations at $70,000 each are proposed for failing to guard seven manual spinning lathes, with a total proposed willful penalty of $490,000. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Three serious citations with penalties totaling $21,000 also are proposed for a lack of adequate personal protective equipment for workers' faces, extremities and hands. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known. Combined, the proposed fines total $511,000.

Loren Cook manufactures industrial ventilation equipment and employs approximately 800 workers, with about 580 located at the Springfield site and the remainder at a North Carolina site. When contacted by EHS Today, the company had no comment on the OSHA fines.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Kansas City, Mo., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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