Lockout Tagout Violation Results in Crush Death at New York Company

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Metalico Rochester Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following the death of an employee at its 50 Portland Ave. recycling facility in Rochester, N.Y.
 
 
According to an OSHA report, the worker, who operated a large baler, was fatally crushed on June 4 when the machine unexpectedly activated while he was clearing material and he became caught between the baler's pusher block/ram and its return cavity.
 
 
The inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office found that the company had not developed and used procedures to lock out the baler's power source and also did not provide workers with the required training on those procedures. OSHA's hazardous energy control standard requires that machines be shut down and their power sources locked or tagged out to prevent them from activating while workers are cleaning or performing maintenance on them. (WCxKit)
 
 
OSHA had cited Metalico Rochester Inc. in March 2010 for similar hazards at a Pittsburgh, Pa., location. The recurrence of those conditions in this case resulted in citations for two repeat violations. 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. Additionally, one serious violation was cited for not providing safe access to the baler. 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.
 
 
"One means by which employers can prevent new and recurring hazards is for them to work proactively and cooperatively with their employees to develop, implement and effectively maintain an illness and injury prevention program," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York. [WCx]
 
 
Detailed information on controlling hazardous energy, including an interactive E Tool, is available for workers and employers online at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.
 
 
Proposed penalties total $73,300. Metalico Rochester Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply with OSHA's Buffalo area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
 
Product liability issues: In cases such as this involving lack of machine guarding and lack of warnings and/or training, adjusters must look carefully for potential to bring in additional parties to cover the loss costs such as machinery manufacturer's with potential responsibility for designing unsafe or defective equipment. If a safer design is available for a machine or it's guarding system, the manufacturer has the responsibility to do so; they must  "design out" the defects not just issue a warning about the defect. Simply slapping a warning on a product with inherent defects will not save the responsible party from being held responsible.
 


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

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