Region 5 News Release: 247
Date: June 21, 2002
Contact: Diane Turek
Phone: (847) 803-4800
Amputation Of Worker's Fingers Leads To
OSHA Fine Of $295,000 For Franklin Park, Ill., Firm
CHICAGO -- A Franklin Park, Ill., firm's failure to protect employees from the hazards of mechanical power presses that resulted in the amputation of three fingers of a worker's left hand has led to a fine of $295,000 by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The inspection was initiated at Sloan Valve Company on Dec. 20 after OSHA received a safety referral about an employee who sustained an amputation while using a mechanical power press. OSHA issued citations alleging four willful and three serious safety and health violations.
"Mechanical power presses are one of the most hazardous machines for workers," said Diane Turek, OSHA area director of the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "Many of the workers at this facility communicated best in Spanish. We were able to speak with them in their native language, which enabled the OSHA inspection team to understand exactly what took place at the workplace."
OSHA issued willful violations alleging that the firm failed to protect employees from point of operation hazards, failed to provide guards using sensors for all areas of entry for mechanical power presses, and failed to require the concurrent use of both hands when activating mechanical power presses. Other willful violations alleged the firm failed to ensure that operational modes on mechanical power press could be supervised by the company and failed to ensure that mechanical power presses required prior action before operating continuously.
The alleged serious violations cited the firm for failing to establish periodic inspections of mechanical power presses, failing to test mechanical power presses at least weekly to ensure that necessary maintenance and repairs were performed before presses were operated, and failing to train and supervise mechanical press operators in safety methods before starting operations.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one that is committed with an intentional disregard for or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Sloan Valve Company manufactures flush valves for the plumbing industry at its facility in Franklin Park. The company has wholesale distribution networks worldwide.
Sloan Valve Company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the area director.
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