A judged affirmed citations and increased fines issued to an auto parts manufacturer after a temp worker suffered amputations; separately, a meat processing plant faces fines for failure to train temps about hazardous chemicals.

Amputation. A judged affirmed seven of eight citations issued to an auto parts manufacturer for an accident in which a temporary worker’s lower right arm and three fingers on his left hand were amputated by a power press.

The worker was assigned to staffing buyer Matsu Alabama Inc., a division of Matcor Automotive Inc., an auto parts manufacturer. In September 2014, OSHA issued eight citations and fines of $75,000 to the company. The staffing firm that assigned the worker, Surge Staffing LLC, was not issued any citations. The worker was assigned primarily to perform janitorial duties.

Matsu was cited for one repeat violation for its failure to guard rotating chucks and spindles on milling and drilling machines. Six violations designated as serious include failing to:

  • Guard the point of operation on a mechanical power press, which led to the amputation,
  • Provide safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
  • Conduct power press inspections to ensure safety devices and auxiliary equipment were effective and operating properly.
  • Provide training and instruction on safely operating the mechanical power press.
  • Reduce compressed air for cleaning to less than 30 pounds per square inch.
  • Prevent press operators from changing the press mode without supervision.

Matsu was also cited for failing to record an amputation incident and the resulting lost time with OSHA within seven days.

Matsu contested OSHA’s citations and an OSHRC hearing was conducted.

Last week, Judge John Gatto removed the citation for “failure to prevent press operators from changing the press mode without supervision,” but affirmed the remaining seven. Further, he increased the fine for the repeat violation to the maximum penalty of $70,000, resulting in total fines of $103,000.

Chemical hazards. OSHA issued one repeated and one serious safety violation to staffing buyer Stampede Meat, a Bridgeview, Ill., meat processing plant, which it investigated after receiving a complaint of unsafe working conditions. The proposed fines are $45,000.

The repeated violation is for failing to provide training to new employees and temporary workers about hazardous chemicals, such as refrigerant ammonia in use in the facility. The company was cited for this violation in 2011. A serious violation cites the company for failing to train workers on emergency action plan procedures. Such plans are required when hazardous materials are in use.

OSHA also cited Reliable Staffing Services, which operates as Flexible Staffing Services of Lake in the Hills, and Accurate Personnel of Chicago, for failing to train workers in these hazards. They each face $14,000 in penalties.