The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $274,934 to a plastics manufacturer in Ohio after investigating a second debilitating injury suffered by an employee in less than 18 months, which means the company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program.

The agency announced that its inspectors identified four repeated, six serious and three other-than-serious safety violations of machine safety procedures at Lauren Manufacturing after a pneumatic bench cutter severed a 27-year-old employee’s finger as she cut rubber material on June 22, 2016. Inspectors found the employer did not adjust the machine’s safeguards properly to prevent the worker’s hand from coming in contact with the machine’s operating parts.

“Companies need to evaluate safety procedures to protect employees from injuries on the job,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Particularly, they need to take a hard look at machinery operations and how workers are trained on safety.”

OSHA also says the company:

  • Allowed temporary workers to operate machinery without training on proper procedures to isolate energy to operating parts during service and maintenance, a process known as “lockout/tag out”;
  • Failed to develop and implement adequate lockout/tag out procedures and periodically inspect such procedures;
  • Did not provide protective footwear or adequate personnel protective equipment to protect employees from burns, and;
  • Exposed workers to live electrical contacts.

In January 2015, OSHA cited Lauren for lack of machine safety procedures after a worker’s arm was crushed in a hydraulic mold press. The agency cited the company for four safety violations in that case.

“Any instance of employee injury is deeply personal for each member of our organization,” said Chuck Laney, Lauren International’s vice president of safety and continuous improvement, in a statement that was reported by the Canton (Ohio) Repository. “Employee safety is our highest obligation and a core value for our company. Throughout this entire process, Lauren Manufacturing has cooperated with OSHA officials to the fullest extent. We have received the recent communication from OSHA about their proposed citations and penalties, we are reviewing the information, and we have scheduled our informal conference for the first week of January in Columbus. We look forward to our discussions with OSHA regarding the many steps we have taken to provide a safe environment for our employees and will use this process to continue to improve our operations.”

A subsidiary of Lauren International, Lauren Manufacturing makes molded and extruded polymer solutions and engineered products from organic, silicone, thermoplastics and other specialty polymers.

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