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OSHA seeks fine after amputation accident

Federal officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are proposing a large fine after a worker was injured in a North-Carolina based factory. The work accident resulted in a crushing injury and a partially amputated thumb.

The accident occurred on April 8 in the company's Wisconsin plant. The worker was wearing gloves at the time of the accident, wiping liquid from a mold. His hand was pulled into a laminating machine's moving part. OSHA inspectors commenced an inspection on May 8 after learning about the accident. They found that the machine guards were not adequate. Investigators also found that workers were exposed to the unguarded portion of the laminator about 10 times per each 12-hour shift.

OSHA officials have cited the business for one safety violation which is classified as willful. The penalties proposed total $70,000. The area director of OSHA said that permitting workers to operate dangerous machinery that was not equipped with the proper safety measures is not acceptable. Such egregious behavior is often the cause of catastrophic injuries, the area director continued. As such, the area director says that the employer has to be held accountable for the injury and the continued safety of its employees. The company has 15 business days to respond to the findings by complying, requesting an informal conference with OSHA officials or contesting the findings. The company received similar citations in 2008.

When an employee is injured while completing his job, workers' compensation may be available to assist the victim. While a finding by OSHA is not necessary for an employee to receive benefits from workers' compensation, it can help explain the cause of the accident in case the claim is denied. An injured worker may seek legal counsel to assist with the claims process.

Source: WEAU, "OSHA proposes fine after Wisconsin plant accident", September 11, 2014

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