OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Labor Department has cited R&R Corrugated Container, Inc., of Terryville, Connecticut, for an alleged Willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following a worker injury and has proposed a penalty of $44,000.
According to John J. Stanton, Jr., OSHA area director in Hartford, the citation resulted from an OSHA inspection initiated August 18, 1998, following his office's receipt of an employee complaint. The complaint was prompted by a May 20, 1998, accident in which a worker's finger was sliced by the moving blade of a Ban Saw® while the worker was attempting to adjust the pitch of its blade. Approximately 53 workers are employed at R&R, a corrugated container manufacturing plant located at 1669 Container Drive in the Plymouth Industrial Park in Terryville.
"The inspection found serious deficiencies in hazardous energy control and machine guarding for this machine," said Stanton. "Hazardous energy control, also called lockout/tagout, requires that the employer ensure that the saw's power source be physically locked out prior to maintenance or servicing. This is to prevent the unintended startup of the saw while an employee is servicing it. The employer is also required to update lockout procedures and training whenever the machine's location or its wiring configuration change.
"In this case, the machine was moved, over a year ago, from its original location in the plant to a new location with a new wiring configuration. Yet, since that time, the employer took no steps to develop and provide new and updated lockout procedures, hardware and employee training that took into account the saw's new location and the new configuration of its power source," he said. "This lack of up-to-date knowledge, procedures and equipment, plus the failure to adequately guard the saw against accidental employee contact, left employees working on this machine exposed to the hazards of crippling lacerations and amputations."
Stanton noted that the sizable penalty proposed in this case reflects the classification of the citation as Willful, the most severe category of OSHA citation. OSHA issues such citations only when it believes, based on information gathered in its inspection, that the employer knew what safeguards were required to protect workers against a hazard yet apparently elected not to provide them.
Specifically, the alleged willful violation and the proposed penalty of $44,000 encompass:
failure to provide clear and concise lockout procedures for the Ban Saw after its location and wiring configuration had been changed;
failure to supply all necessary hardware to lock out the Ban Saw;
failure to certify that periodic inspections of the lockout procedures and equipment had been conducted;
failure to provide employees with updated lockout training that would reflect its new location and wiring configuration;
allowing removal of Ban Saw guarding above its point of operation;
allowing operation of the Ban Saw without its point of operation guard being in place.
The company was also cited for one alleged Other than Serious violation, with no cash penalty proposed, for an incomplete illness and injury log.
Stanton urged Connecticut employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area offices in Hartford or Bridgeport and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline --1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)-- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
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.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the 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 information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.
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