Sept. 15, 2015 BOS 2015-166
Judge upholds OSHA citations and penalties in Rochester amputation case
American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc. ordered to pay $154K in fines
Date of action: Sept. 3, 2015
Type of action: Decision and Order
Name of defendant: American Recycling & Manufacturing Co., Inc.,
Background: An employee of American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc., located in Rochester, New York, lost his left hand in December 2012 when a co-worker stepped on the unprotected foot pedal that activated an unguarded pop-up table saw. An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that both the saw and the pedal were not shielded to prevent accidental contact or activation. OSHA also identified numerous other hazards and cited the company in May 2013 for willful and serious violations. American Recycling & Manufacturing Co. Inc. contested its citations to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission; a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Dennis L. Phillips in October 2014.
Resolution: Judge Phillips has issued a decision affirming the citations and ordering the company to pay $154,800 in penalties and correct the cited hazards. The judge found that the employer had received numerous complaints from employees about the hazards of the saw and the foot pedal, but failed to take corrective action. Further, caution signs posted on the saw were in English but several employees, including the injured worker, were not fluent in English and could not understand the warnings.
Quote: "This decision upholds our findings that conditions at this workplace endangered employees and that two of those violations -- those involving the saw and the foot pedal -- contributed to the preventable loss of an employee's hand. It's up to this employer to take and maintain effective corrective action so that these hazards are eliminated and future injuries are prevented," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
"OSHA cited this employer for conditions that directly affected the safety and health of its employees and this decision affirms OSHA's findings. It also serves as a reminder to employers that we will take the necessary and appropriate legal steps to uphold citations and ensure that employers comply with the law," said Jeffrey Rogoff, regional solicitor of labor in New York.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area office; the case was litigated by Attorney Susan Jacobs of the department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.
Court: U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Docket Number: 13-1101 & 13-1102
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Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 15-1785-NEW
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