On Feb. 22, Randy Robinson was loading the facility's industrial washer when his arm reportedly became tangled on coveralls that were hanging out of the machine. In a statement, he explained the torque from the washer flipped him three times, inflicting severe trauma to his arm, until he hit an emergency off switch.
According to a citation issued on Aug. 7 by the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Administration (WISHA), Cintas failed to provide the legally required protections that could have prevented Robinson's injury. WISHA also said that even in some cases, it found the company instructed employees to work in an unsafe manner that could cause "twisting of body parts, broken bones, amputations or even death."
“Cintas knew or should have known there were problems in the washroom, but didn't fix them,” Robinson said about the citation. “It scares me to think that my coworkers could be working in the same conditions that I was in when I got hurt.”
March 6 Death Also Pointed to Violations
This is the second time this year that Cintas has been singled out for serious safety violations. Back in March 6, Eleazar Torres-Gomez died after being dragged into an industrial dryer at a Cintas Corp. facility in Tulsa, Okla. After being trapped in 300 degree Fahrenheit heat, Torres-Gomez died of trauma and thermal injuries.
His death prompted Congressional leaders to send a letter to OSHA, urging them to conduct a full investigation into the safety hazards at all industrial laundry facilities owned by Cintas Corp.,
WISHA's investigation into the incident found numerous serious safety violations at Cintas, including:
- Failure to ensure that employees were safeguarded from rotating or revolving parts;
- Failure to ensure that the company's established rules provided a safe and healthy work environment; and
- Failure to train all employees in the energy control program that prevents workers from being caught in or struck by machinery and prevents electrocution.
WISHA inspectors also found that Cintas did not prevent workers from riding on the conveyors that brought clothes from the washer to the dryer "whenever clothing or product became clogged" – a highly dangerous and potentially life-threatening practice that caused Torres-Gomez's death.
“Cintas cannot be allowed to disregard laws put in place to save workers from disfigurement and death,” said UNITE HERE Health and Safety Director Eric Frumin. “For Cintas, the cost of implementing these lifesaving measures is a tiny fraction of the company's profits.”