Worker Amputations Lead to More Than $266,000 in OSHA Penalties

Crespac Inc. in Tucker, Ga., has been cited with 34 safety and health violations by OSHA. Proposed penalties total $266,400.

“OSHA began its comprehensive safety and health inspection after learning of two separate incidents resulting in amputations within a 30-day period,” said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “In both instances, management knew of deficiencies but acted with plain indifference by failing to correct the problems in a timely manner that could have prevented these amputations.”

The agency is citing the company with three willful, four repeat, 19 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations, as well as five serious and two other-than-serious health violations. OSHA is proposing penalties of $249,200 for the safety violations and an additional $17,200 for the health violations.

The willful citations result from the company’s failure to ensure that all machines had proper safety guards, functional emergency stop cords and usable safety interlock switches installed on machinery. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The company is being cited for repeat violations related to having slippery and wet floors, lack of safety guards on machines, machines being operated with broken parts and employees being exposed to electrical shocks.

Serious violations include fall hazards, slipping and tripping hazards, entrapment hazards, failure to provide proper fire training and equipment, failure to properly train forklift operators, electrical hazards, noise hazards, exposure to hazardous chemicals and an insufficient respirator program for employees. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any of a company's other facilities in federal enforcement states.

Other-than-serious violations relate to the company’s failure to conduct timely inspections of overhead cranes and related equipment and recordkeeping deficiencies in required OSHA incident logs.

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

Related articles:

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OSHA Issues Revised Amputation Guide
The guide, Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations, will tie into OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations, which the agency released Oct. 27. Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that result in permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment, OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. said.

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