Feb. 4, 2015
OSHA cites BRT Extrusion after worker was crushed to death
NILES, Ohio. – A 49-year-old machine operator was fatally crushed while reaching into an extrusion press to remove unprocessed aluminum parts because his employer, BRT Extrusions Inc., failed to ensure the machine's power was fully off so that it would not turn on during maintenance, a procedure known as lockout/tagout. An investigation into the Aug. 6, 2014, incident by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration resulted in citations for the Niles, Ohio, facility for six serious safety violations for exposing workers to dangerous machinery and other hazards.
"This death was preventable, BRT Extrusion should have properly trained their workers on lockout/tagout and ensured the extrusion press had adequate guarding," said Brigitte Frank, OSHA's acting area director in Cleveland. "Failure to protect employees from dangerous machinery all too often leads to catastrophic injury or death. These violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA."
The investigation found that the press had been placed in automatic mode by a supervisor while the employees working the press took a lunch break. The press was not "locked out" to prevent unintentional cycling of the operating parts. As the machine operator reached into the press, it began a new cycle. The operator was crushed to death.
As a result, OSHA cited BRT Extrusions for six serious violations. A lack of machine guarding was also cited. Machine guards ensure workers are not exposed to dangerous parts moving parts of machinery while working. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
OSHA proposed penalties of $28,000 for the company, which specializes in the manufacture of aluminum extrusion components and employs about 200 workers.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-520-1624.
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.
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Release Number: 14-2293-CHI
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