May 4, 2016
OSHA finds absence of proper safety guards led to amputation
of 21-year-old worker's six fingers at South Elgin metal manufacturer
Agency cites Custom Aluminum Products with willful, serious violations
SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. - The amputation a 21-year-old temporary worker's six fingers was preventable if his South Elgin employer had installed proper safety guards to keep the operator's hands out of the metal press' danger zone, federal inspectors found.
U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors responded after the Nov. 4, 2015 incident at Custom Aluminum Products. An investigation determined the worker, employed just four weeks, suffered the loss of his ring, middle and index fingers and part of his right pinky finger when his hands became caught as he hand-fed parts into an aluminum press.
"It's hard to imagine the agony and pain this young man suffered when six of his fingers were amputated," said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in Aurora. "His life is now forever altered because the press lacked required safe guarding devices. These devices would have prevented his hands from coming in contact with the operating parts of the machine."
Since Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report any severe work-related injury - defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye - within 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, Illinois employers reported 173 amputations. Amputation hazards remain among the most frequently cited OSHA violations.
View current citations here.*
Custom Aluminum Products specializes in custom extrusions, fabrication, welding, bending, painting, anodizing, assembly, packing and inventory warehousing at two sites in South Elgin and Genoa. 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 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 Aurora office at 630-896-8700.
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: 16-903-CHI
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).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.