Optimum Plastics Inc. faces $81,000 in proposed US Department of Labor
OSHA penalties after 4 workers suffer fractures at Delaware, Ohio, plant
DELAWARE, Ohio – Optimum Plastics Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after four workers suffered forearm fractures while operating winder machines with inadequate guarding at the company's Delaware packaging plant. OSHA has cited three safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $81,000.
"Optimum Plastics made no effort to provide adequate machine guarding, even after multiple employees suffered injuries while operating this equipment. That is unacceptable," said OSHA Area Director Deborah Zubaty in Columbus. "Companies must be aware of the hazards that exist in their facilities and take all possible precautions to minimize the risk of injury."
On May 16, 2012, an employee had his left arm pulled into the machine, resulting in the fracture of both bones in his left forearm. Similar injuries occurred in January, February and April of this year, which resulted in fractured bones in the forearms of three other employees. During the March complaint inspection, company injury reports and medical records were reviewed, and OSHA determined that at least 15 less severe injuries occurred to employees operating winder machines at the company during the past five years.
One willful violation was cited for failing to have adequate machine guarding on the winder machines on production lines one, two and three at the plastics packaging plant. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA also issued one repeat violation for having a flexible cord, which was not grounded. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was cited previously for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years. Optimum Plastics was cited at the same facility for a similar violation in January 2010.
One serious violation was issued for installing ring guards on the emergency stop actuators of the winder machine on production line six, which prevented employees from readily activating the emergency stop buttons. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
Optimum Plastics Inc. 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.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Columbus office at 614-469-5582. To report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.