Regulatory Update: Worker’s  2023 Fatal Injuries Occurred on 3M M chine Identified as Hazardous in 2023

Regulatory Update: OSHA Cites 3M for Willful Safety Violations Related to Worker Fatality

Nov. 8, 2023
OSHA says the fatality at 3M site could have been prevented by following federal safety regulations.

A fatality at 3M could have been prevented by following federal workplace safety regulations, according to the OSHA. 

An employee at a southwestern Wisconsin manufacturing plant suffered fatal injuries after becoming caught in a machine’s rotating rollers in May 2023. OSHA began an investigation after the 3M Company reported the death at its Prairie du Chien facility, home to 500 workers. OSHA inspectors learned the employee was helping to set-up a plastic extrusion line when he became caught.

The agency determined 3M violated federal regulations for the control of hazardous energy during set-up, servicing and operation of the machine. The incident followed the company’s assessment of equipment at its U.S. and Canadian plants in May 2022 after a fatality at a 3M facility in Alexandria, Minn., in February 2022.

“The tragedy of another employee’s death in Wisconsin is compounded by the fact that the 3M Company completed a corporate-wide review and determined powered rollers were hazards in need of safety improvements,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago, in a statement. “The company must address these hazards immediately to protect employees from serious injuries or worse.”

OSHA cited the company for two willful safety violations and assessed $312,518 in proposed penalties.

Specifically, federal investigators found the company failed to use procedures for the control of hazardous energy and did not implement energy control application steps when employees set up the production line by threading through powered rollers by hand. They also determined the 3M plant allowed workers to circumvent machine guarding to cut and remove wrapped fibers from rotating powered rollers and to remove fibers from the floor, which exposed them to caught-in hazards.

Note: OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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