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Region 1 News Release: BOS 2001-145
Oct. 15, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
AMPUTATION OF WORKER'S FINGERS LEADS TO OSHA CITATIONS
BOSTON - A Hopedale, Mass., plastics firm faces $51,467 in fines after one of its employees lost two fingers in an inadequately guarded machine. The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Incase, Incorporated for 28 alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, encompassing a wide cross-section of manufacturing hazards.
OSHA's inspection was initiated in response to a July 19 accident in which a thermoformer machine, used to heat and shape plastic, activated while a worker was removing plastic material from its cutting section.
"The machine was equipped with an interlocking gate designed to stop the machine's operation when the gate was opened, but our inspection found the company bypassed this necessary safety measure by installing a panel that allowed access to the machine's cutting section," said Ronald E. Morin, OSHA area director for central and western Massachusetts. "This exposed workers to amputation hazards."
OSHA has cited Incase for an alleged willful violation, defined as a violation committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to OSHA standards. The agency has proposed a fine of $35,000 for failing to adequately guard the machine.
An additional $16,467 in fines were proposed for 25 alleged serious violations involving inadequate machine guarding, electrical hazards, fall hazards, inadequate fire prevention measures and insufficient protective equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
The company was also cited for two other-than-serious hazards for failing to post permit required confined spaces and failure to develop and maintain a written hazard communication program. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
Incase, Incorporated is located at 50 Mellen St. in Hopedale and employs about 40 workers. The company has 15 working days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Springfield, Mass., area office.
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