Jun 16, 2015

OSHA Issues $115K in Fines After Atlanta Worker is Hurt by Improperly Locked Out Machine

A 56-year-old worker was recently injured by a piece of machinery used
to assemble air filters at an Atlanta workplace. According to the nation’s
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the
employee endured severe cuts and a broken wrist after her arm was apparently
struck by moving mechanical parts. A representative for OSHA stated the
worker’s injuries occurred while she was cleaning a large machine
that was not properly locked out for maintenance.

As a result of the employee’s harm, OSHA issued about $115,000 in
proposed penalties to the worker’s employer. The air filter manufacturer
received two repeat citations for the company’s purported failure
to provide workers with safety guards designed to protect them from being
hurt by moving machinery parts. Typically, a repeat violation is issued
when an employer is cited for failing to comply with a similar safety
regulation more than once within a five-year-period. The hurt worker’s
employer also received one serious violation for failing to ensure that
written cleaning and maintenance procedures established to protect workers
from machinery hazards were followed by employees. A serious violation
is one that creates a substantial likelihood a worker will suffer a severe
injury or fatality that an employer had actual knowledge of or should
have known about.

The Kentucky-based air filter manufacturing company currently employs
about 100 individuals at its Atlanta facility. Last year, the Georgia
facility was inspected by OSHA twice. As a result of those inspections,
the company received both serious and repeat citations for purported safety
guard violations. OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office Director, Bill
Fulcher, stated the hazards present at the Atlanta manufacturing facility
have the potential to cause workers to suffer a permanent disability or
an untimely death. Due to the company’s repeat violations, OSHA
has proposed that the air filter manufacturer be placed in its Severe
Violator Enforcement Program. This program was designed to address safety
hazards at workplaces where an employer has demonstrated an indifference
towards providing employees with the health and safety protections required
under federal law.

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was created in an effort to reduce the number of workplace injuries and
deaths that occur across the nation. Under the law, employers operating
in the U.S. have an obligation to provide employees with a working environment
that is reasonably free from known health and safety hazards. When a serious
workplace accident occurs, OSHA will normally investigate whether an employer
complied with established safety standards.

In 2013, more than 4,400 workers were killed on the job across the United
States. Of those, 70 Georgia employees died as a result of a fatal work
injury. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or a loved one was killed
at work in Atlanta, you should discuss your rights with a knowledgeable
workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you are able. To schedule
a confidential consultation with an experienced Georgia workers’
compensation lawyer today, call Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
at (770) 922-3660 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Worker suffers broken wrist and lacerations while performing machine maintenance
work at Atlanta’s American Air Filter Co.
OSHA Regional News Release dated April 22, 2015

Photo credit: click, MorgueFile