April 28, 2016
Worker loses part of finger in unguarded machine at Kansas
battery manufacturer; OSHA finds multiple machine, electrical hazards
Exide Technologies also receives alert letter for lack of heat-stress program
SALINA, Kan. ¿ As they investigated unsafe working conditions at a Salina battery manufacturer, federal investigators initiated a second safety inspection after the company reported an unguarded machine partially amputated a 32-year-old worker's left middle finger.
On April 26, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful, and 10 serious safety and health violations to Exide Technologies based on the Oct. 27 complaint and Dec. 3, 2015, injury inspections. OSHA found workers exposed to electrical and machine hazards. The agency also issued a hazard alert letter* to the plant for failing to implement a heat-stress program. OSHA proposed total penalties of $127,300.
"Exide Technologies is exposing workers to dangerous electrical and machine hazards that can cause devastating and life-changing injuries like the one this worker suffered," said Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita. "While working as a strip caster, this man joined 65 other Kansas workers who, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports suffered preventable, workplace amputation injuries in 2015. Exide needs to clean up its act and take immediate action to fix these hazards."
Inspectors found the amputation injury occurred when the strip caster's left hand was caught in the unguarded belts, pulleys and gears of a lead chopping machine at the facility.
OSHA also cited the company for:
- Using electrical cable trays and equipment found deteriorating from exposure to sulfuric acid vapors.
- Allowing acid and water to accumulate on floors causing holes, slip and trip hazards.
- Impeding exit paths.
- Failing to develop a permit-required confined space program.
- Not training and monitoring workers in confined space.
- Not labeling hazardous chemical containers.
- Failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals in use.
Based in Milton, Georgia, Exide focuses on smart battery development and advanced materials and process design at research facilities in the U.S., Germany, Italy and Spain. The company employs about 620 workers at the Salina facility and 5,000 globally.
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 Wichita office at 316-269-6644.
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: 16-741-KAN
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.