April 13, 2015
Chicago Dryer Co. fails to guard press brakes, operates damaged cranes
carrying 3K-pound cylinders; OSHA proposes $171K in fines
CHICAGO – Hundreds of thousands of workers suffer finger, hand or foot amputations and other serious injuries each year in the United States because dangerous machines with moving parts lack proper safety mechanisms. Despite these dangers, one Chicago-based manufacturer ignored safety requirements and put workers at risk for debilitating injuries.
Chicago Dryer Co. was inspected in October 2014 by U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators and cited for one willful and 20 serious safety and health violations, including exposing workers to struck-by hazards because the company used damaged crane slings to carry 3,000-pound cylinders. Chicago Dryer faces proposed penalties of $171,000.
"When a press brake lacks safety features, one slip and a worker can lose a hand," said Angeline Loftus, area director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "OSHA found multiple serious violations in this industrial setting. Chicago Dryer needs to address the use of damaged equipment immediately and lack of training that puts workers at risk for serious and potentially fatal injuries."
Responding to an employee complaint, agency investigators saw workers endangered by machine hazards during the manufacturing process. Employees were exposed to unguarded press brakes, resulting in one willful violation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Chicago Dryer did not remove damaged crane slings and powered industrial vehicles from use; exposed workers to fall hazards because railings were not installed on open stairs and working surfaces; and failed to develop machine-specific procedures for controlling unintentional machine operation during service and maintenance, including affixing locking devices. Additionally, exit routes were blocked and exit doors were locked. Electrical safety hazards and lack of training were also noted. A total of 20 serious safety and health violations were issued.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
View the current citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Chicago_Dryer_Company_999915_0407_15.pdf*.
Chicago Dryer makes industrial dryers. 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 Chicago North Area Office at 847-803-4800.
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: 15-575-CHI
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