Aug. 31, 2015
2 workers suffer amputations in separate incidents, less than 2 weeks apart,
due to Oakwood, Georgia, plastic manufacturer's safety failures
Primex Plastics Corp. issued 22 violations, faces more than $141K in OSHA penalties
OAKWOOD, Ga. - In separate incidents less than two weeks apart, two employees sustained disabling injuries at Primex Plastics Corp. in Oakwood. Both workers had their middle and ring fingers amputated as they removed material jammed in shearing machines that cut plastic.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the plastics manufacturer on Aug. 27, 2015 for two repeated, 18 serious and two other-than-serious safety and health violations. Proposed penalties total $141,100.
After learning of the Feb. 28, 2015, amputation, OSHA immediately opened an investigation in March. During OSHA's inspection, company officials told the inspectors that a second amputation had occurred the night before on a similar machine.
"Worker safety, not profits, must be a company's priority," said Bill Fulcher, OSHA's director of the Atlanta-East Area Office. "Unfortunately, it took two amputations for Primex to address known safety hazards at this facility."
OSHA issued repeated citations for failing to provide workers exposed to high temperatures with protective equipment, and for storing together oxygen and acetylene cylinders. The agency cited Primex previously for similar violations in December 2014 at its New Jersey facility.
The agency cited serious citations for the following issues:
- Failure to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.
- Ignoring procedures to prevent machines from sudden start up during maintenance and service.
- Not implementing protections for workers exposed to excessive noise.
- Failing to ensure properly guarded machinery, such as shearing machines and a drill press.
- Exposing workers to falls.
To view current citations, visit:
Since 2005, Primex has had 14 OSHA inspections nationwide and has received 35 safety and health citations.
A subsidiary of ICC Industries Inc., Primex has headquarters in Richmond, Indiana, and maintains facilities in Georgia, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Nevada. The company employs more than 1,100 workers.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Bureau of Labor Statistics' data from the preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries* shows fatal work injuries in Georgia accounted for 117 of the 4,585 fatal work injuries reported nationally in 2013. Additional details are available at http://www.bls.gov.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Release Number: 15-1642-ATL
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
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