Friday, January 20, 2017

"suffered injuries that led to his death two days later..."

Due to our travel schedule we have a backlog of stories that have not been posted. We feel it would be a disservice to the injured and dead if we did not post them. Our number 1 goal is that by bringing awareness to these incident we can hopefully prevent recurrence.

The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog acknowledges that some incidents occur random without warning for a variety of reasons. From machinery breakdowns, to incidents results from a coworkers actions. Unfortunately, there are many incidents that occur because of false safety beliefs. False safety beliefs can begin when a lack of knowledge transforms into a habit or a practice. Overtime those practices are assumed to be safe. It is only after an incident resulting in an injury or death that the practice is found to actually be a hazard. Here is a recent story:

An investigation by OSHA into a work related injury at Midwest USA based manufacturing company revealed that the employer allowed a computer numerical controlled lathe to operate with its safety interlocks bypassed. Those interlocks prevent workers from coming in contact with moving machine parts.

As an employee hand-polished a 1.5 meter long aluminium cylinder, lathe operator became entangled in the machine’s operating spindle and suffered injuries that led to his death two days later.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for one willful, and one serious violation of machine safety standards, as a result of the worker’s death during the week of March 15, 2016. The deceased worker had employed the man for two years.

“All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and bypass them to speed production,” said the area director of OSHA’s office. “This worker’s tragic death was preventable. The (company) must re-evaluate its overall safety and health management system, including their machine safety programs and procedures to ensure they are effective.”

OSHA’s inspection found the lathe’s door that provided guarding, was open exposing the worker to the machines rotating parts. Unrelated to the incident, agency inspectors found that the company also failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts.

OSHA has fined the company €110,000.
The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog offers our sincere condolences to the deceased worker’s family, friends, and coworkers. The pain of losing a loved one in a workplace incident is unbearable and unending. We hope overtime that the family will remember how the worker lived and not how he passed away.

This incident can be a used a clear example of what can go horribly wrong if you bypass safety mechanisms. The APSB has posted incidents in similar nature. Each time the safety mechanisms are bypassed. We stress that engineering controls need to address this matter to prevent this from ever occurring.

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