In the past few years, Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. employees have suffered crushed fingers, amputation of multiple fingertips and entire fingers, but serious safety violations persist at the Scranton-based company, according to OSHA. A June 2014 inspection of the Scranton, Pa., company once again found Olympia workers exposed to a number of serious machine hazards.
Spurred by yet another safety complaint, investigators initiated their review under the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations. For failure to take proper precautions to prevent the dangers of amputation, laceration and crushed fingers, Olympia was cited for 14 safety violations with fines totaling $49,000.
“Olympia’s record reveals that employees have suffered more than 20 injuries in the past few years, including lacerations, crushed and pinched fingers, multiple fingertip amputations and the amputation of several fingers,” said Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA’s Wilkes-Barre area office. “This company must do a better job of protecting its employee from these serious, yet preventable, injuries.”
OSHA inspectors found several machines at the facility that were not guarded properly, and discovered deficiencies in the company’s lockout/tagout program, which prevents inadvertent machine start-ups during maintenance. As a result, OSHA issued citations for 13 serious violations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An additional citation was issued for an electrical hazard.
Olympia manufactures materials used for chimney construction and restoration. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with Stelmack or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.