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Region 5 News Release: 12-107-CHI
Jan. 30, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6876      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Polymerics in
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, after worker's hand amputated by shear machine

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Polymerics with four safety violations, including a willful violation for failing to ensure that a rubber-cutting shear was kept in good working order after a worker suffered an amputation at the company's Cuyahoga Falls rubber manufacturing facility.

OSHA initiated an inspection on Aug. 16, 2011, upon receiving a complaint that alleged a malfunctioning safety pin on the hydraulic shear machine had resulted in the amputation of a worker's hand on July 27. 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.

"Failing to ensure that safety mechanisms on hazardous machines are working properly demonstrates a lack of regard for employees' safety and health," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Additionally, one repeat violation was issued for failing to conduct an annual review of lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violation was cited at the facility in 2008.

Finally, two serious violations involve failing to train employees on hazardous chemicals as well as develop, implement and train workers in machine specific lockout/tagout procedures while servicing or conducting maintenance. 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.

Polymerics Inc. employs approximately 56 people at its facilities in Cuyahoga Falls and Kent. Prior to this inspection, OSHA had inspected the company six times since 1983.

Proposed fines from the latest inspection total $74,900. 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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-615-4266.

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.


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