Improper Machine Guarding Leads to Amputation
A Pennsylvania manufacturer failed to correct a previously identified machine defect resulting in the amputation of a worker’s arm by a brick crushing machine.
The incident prompted an OSHA investigation that found the company, TYK, knew the guard for the machine was insufficient, but kept the machine in operation.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited TYK America for 11 safety violations, including one willful and eight serious, paired with a penalty fine of $108,769.
In their November 2021 investigation, inspectors determined a worker was loading bricks into a machine when the worker’s left hand and arm got caught in the rotating drums of the machine.
OSHA said the company failed to provide guarding to prevent employees from having any part of their body in the danger zone during operation.
This hazard was identified during previous inspections of the machine by the employer, but repairs were never made, constituting a willful violation.
Investigators also said there was a lack of warning labels and guarding on the machinery.
They added that workers were exposed to electrical, crushed-by and struck-by hazards while using a damaged hoist to lift lance pipes and molds weighing up to roughly 1,619 pounds, which resulted in other violations.
According to OSHA, amputations occur most often when workers operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded mechanical equipment including:
- Power presses
- Power press brakes
- Powered and non-powered conveyors
- Printing presses
- Roll-forming and roll bending machines
- Food slicers, meat grinders, meat cutting band saws
- Drill presses, and milling machines
- Shears, grinders, and slitters.
Amputations also happen during materials handling activities and when using forklifts and doors, as well as trash compactors and powered and non-powered hand tools.
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