OSHA Cites Cleveland Plant Following Machine Operator's Death

Noria news wires

A 45-year-old machine operator was fatally crushed while he adjusted a set screw on a rolling mill at the Cleveland Track Material facility on Aug. 21, 2014. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation found workers were exposed to dangerous rotating machinery parts at the plant that rolls steel for railroad industry use. Seven serious violations have been issued as a result of the investigation, with proposed fines totaling $49,000.

"A son lost his father, and a wife lost her husband," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer implemented basic safety precautions associated with dangerous machinery."

OSHA's inspection found that the lead rolling mill operator, who had been employed at Cleveland Track Material for 16 years, came in contact with a spinning shaft. He suffered fatal blunt force trauma and injuries related to crushing as a result.

The company failed to ensure the worker was protected against contact with rotating parts, chains and sprockets and that machines were properly guarded and locked out prior to maintenance. Additionally, employees were inadequately trained on these procedures. These violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA at manufacturing plants.

An OSHA violation is considered serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known existed.

A subsidiary of Vossloh North America, Cleveland Track Material is based in Reading, Pennsylvania. The company employs approximately 250 workers at manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Reading and Memphis, Tennessee.

Cleveland Track Material 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.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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