OSHA Issues Fine After Temp Employee Permanently Disabled
According to a recent Staffing Industry Analysts article, Ice River – a water bottling plant in Florida – was fined $84,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an incident that permanently disabled a temporary employee.
During his/her second week on the job, the worker was clearing a jam in a machine used to package water bottle cases. The machine started up and pinned the temporary employee between the elevator and palletizer conveyer. Through an OSHA investigation, it was found that Ice River’s facility allowed workers to bypass two machine safeguards when entering the palletizer’s cage – resulting in three safety violations (two serious and one willful).
- Serious – “Failure to conduct an annual inspection of lockout/tagout procedures and not training workers to recognize hazardous machinery or implement proper maintenance controls.”
- Willful – “Failure to ensure workers were protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance.”
The plant’s staffing provider was also inspected by OSHA, but not issued any citations.
Last year, OSHA launched its initiative to protect temporary workers – which was in large response to the growing number of injuries and fatalities experienced by temporary workers. This case is no exception and further demonstrates the importance of working in tandem with your clients. As lockout/tagout (LOTO) safety was a key component to this case, we provided a few steps below that your staffing company could share with clients.
- Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used in lieu of lockout devices only if the tagout program provides protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout program.
- Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out.
- Develop, implement and enforce an effective tagout program if machines or equipment aren’t capable of being locked out.
- Develop, document, implement and enforce energy control procedures.
- Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they’re durable, standardized and substantial.
- Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual users.
- Establish a policy that permits only the employee who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
- Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
- Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.
- Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors or temporary employees work at the site, in group lockout situations and during shift or personnel changes.
- Assurance University: Risk Management Overview Webinar Recording
- Four OSHA Regulations You Should Know for Machine Guarding
- OSHA Emphasizes Joint Responsibility Between Temporary Staffing Firms and Clients
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