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Region 5 News Release: 12-44-CHI
Jan. 18, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Curt Manufacturing in
Eau Claire, Wis., after worker's thumb crushed by unguarded machine
$105,000 in fines proposed for multiple violations

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Curt Manufacturing LLC with eight safety violations, including one willful violation for allowing workers to continue operating an unguarded hydraulic power press brake after a worker was injured. On July 25, the employee's thumb was crushed while he was bending a metal part between the unguarded dies of the brake. The thumb had to be medically amputated. The Eau Claire-based company was still operating the unguarded press brake when OSHA initiated an inspection on Aug. 16 based on a referral from the state of Wisconsin. Proposed fines total $105,000.

"Failing to have proper machine guarding in the first place, and to cease operating the power press brake in order to correct safety discrepancies following the injury of a worker, demonstrate a complete lack of regard for employees' safety and health," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

The willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $70,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Five serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $35,000 involve failing to develop, document and use hazardous energy control procedures for machines with multiple energy sources; conduct annual inspections of those procedures; ensure lockout devices were affixed to energy isolating devices by authorized employees; provide point-of-operation guarding on a band saw and tube bender; and provide hand tools that permit easy material handling and prevent workers from placing their hands in machine danger zones. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to provide information to workers voluntarily using respirators and failing to evaluate a potential permit-required confined space. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical injury.

The citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CurtManufacturingLLC_97672_01-13-12.pdf*.

Curt Manufacturing specializes in the manufacture of towing components and employs approximately 430 people.

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 Eau Claire Area Office at 715-832-9019.

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.


* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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