OSHA cited Mantrose-Haeuser Company Inc., a producer of industrial and pharmaceutical food coatings, for a total of 29 alleged repeat, willful and serious violations of safety and health standards following the July 17, 2007 incident. OSHA said Luis Ciccia of Pawtucket, Mass., lost his hand because it got caught in an unguarded rotating valve in the machine.
The agency added that the plant was cited for a similar machine-guarding hazard in April 2005. Two other repeat citations were issued for unguarded work platforms and an emergency exit door that could not be opened.
The inspection also revealed that the plant had not developed and implemented required procedures to shut down machines and lock out power sources to prevent unintended startup, which OSHA labeled as willful violation. Other violations uncovered during the OSHA inspection include:
- blocked, obstructed and unmarked emergency exit doors and routes;
- lack of lockout/tagout devices and training;
- trip and fall hazards;
- fire extinguishers not readily available;
- deficiencies in respirator training and fitting;
- confined space hazards;
- a defective powered pallet jack;
- unlabeled containers of chemicals;
- unapproved containers for flammable liquid; and
- lack of written procedures, training and other elements of the plant’s process safety management program.
"The number of citations reflects the wide array of hazards found during our inspection as well as the employer’s knowledge of the lockout hazard and the recurrence of conditions cited during an earlier OSHA inspection," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director in Braintree, Mass. "As demonstrated in this case, continued failure to adhere to safety and health standards exposes employees to serious injuries and potentially fatal fire, chemical, mechanical, fall, confined space and machine guarding hazards."
Company “Respectfully” Disagrees With Citations
Mantrose-Haeuser Plant Manager Brian Terando said the company intends to challenge OSHA citations as “there no basis on which to characterize any actions as either 'willful' or 'repeat.'"
"The safety and well-being of our employees is, and has been, our top priority, and we are committed to doing whatever we can to prevent accident or injury," Terando said. "However, we respectfully disagree with the nature of some of [OSHA’s] findings."
Terando stated that the company took immediate corrective actions after the incident, which included “installing additional protectional, implementing new operational procedures and updating our training program.”
"We continuously evaluate our operations to identify and implement practices to improve employee health and safety throughout the plant," he said.
Mantrose-Haeuser has requested an informal settlement conference with OSHA, Terando said.