The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dale Medical Products Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards after an employee lost the tip of a finger while operating a packaging machine in March. The Plainville, Mass., manufacturer and packager of medical equipment faces $58,100 in proposed fines.
The injury occurred when the worker's finger was pinched by a heat seal bar used to seal plastic bags. OSHA's inspection identified three such packaging machines in the plant that lacked required safeguards to keep employees from becoming caught in their points of operation. This condition exposed workers to laceration and amputation injuries.
"It's imperative that machines be adequately guarded and the guarding continually maintained to prevent the possibility of accidents such as this one," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "In this case, three other similar machines were allowed to operate with missing or inadequate safeguards after the accident."
As a result of this condition, OSHA issued the company one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $56,000, for the lack of machine guarding. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard of employee safety and health.
The company was also issued two serious citations, with $2,100 in fines, for not providing a hazard communication program and training for employees working with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Detailed information on machine guarding hazards, requirements and safeguards, including an interactive e-Tool, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/machineguarding/index.html.