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N.H. Employer Cited Following Amputation Accident

OSHA cited Middleton Building Supply Inc. following an accident last summer in which an employee's leg was amputated in the\r\ncompany's sawmill.

OSHA cited Middleton Building Supply Inc., Middleton, N.H., for safety and health violations following the investigation of an accident last summer in which an employee''s leg was amputated in the company''s sawmill.

The federal enforcement agency is proposing a total of $105,792 in penalties for the alleged violations.

According to OSHA, on June 27, OSHA investigators responded to an accident reported at the company''s Middleton location.

There they learned that a saw operator had been making an adjustment to a 50-inch circular head saw when the mechanism which carries logs into the saw moved and pushed the worker into the rotating saw blade, amputating his leg above the knee.

"This was a tragic accident which simply shouldn''t have happened," said David May, OSHA''s area director for New Hampshire. "And it wouldn''t have happened if this employer had taken the necessary steps and precautions to protect its employees from the hazards of the dangerous powered machinery in this workplace."

May noted that OSHA''s inspection uncovered a number of hazards in addition to those directly related to the accident.

Consequently, Middleton Building Supply is being cited for the following alleged violations:

failing to develop, document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy in the sawmill to protect workers servicing the machinery in the sawmill and failing to provide positive means to prevent unintended movement of log carriage equipment in the sawmill;

  • failing to guard a floor hole into which persons could accidentally walk;
  • failing to equip a ladder with extensions and extended above the landing;
  • failing to provide guarding on various pieces of machinery; and
  • failing to provide employees with training in the requirements of the Bloodborne Pathogen standard prior to requiring them to participate in cleanup operations following the amputation accident.

May stressed that OSHA''s so called "lockout/tagout" standard is specifically designed to prevent accidents of the type which happened in this workplace.

The standard requires that before an employee is allowed to perform maintenance of any sort of adjustment on it, powered machinery must be shut down, positively secured from moving, and that the power source be locked and tagged to prevent accidental startup by another worker.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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