The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Buckhorn Inc. in Springfield, Mo., for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the investigation of an accident in which an employee was crushed inside a plastic injection molding machine.

"There is no excuse for this accident. This worker should not have been allowed to work in the machine without energy sources being locked out," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees to prevent accidents like this from occurring."

OSHA's investigation of the company found one willful and 15 serious violations of the OSH Act. The willful violation stems from the company's failure to ensure the plastic injection molding machine was isolated from energy sources/turned off and locked out when employees were performing maintenance activities inside the machine danger zone. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The serious violations stem from a lack of open sided floor guarding; obstructed emergency exits; permit required confined space deficiencies; a lack of lockout/tagout training and periodic inspection; a lack of eyewash facilities; improperly stored materials; powered industrial trucks in need of repair not taken from service; welding cylinders not secured in storage; electrical wiring installation deficiencies; lack of strain relief on flexible cords in use; and unmarked containers of hazardous materials. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

OSHA has proposed $116,000 in penalties against the company. Buckhorn Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Kansas City, Mo., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.