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Worker's leg amputation leads to OSHA fine for metal parts maker

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited and proposed $74,000 in fines against a Pennsylvania manufacturer after an employee's leg was amputated.

A Clarion Sintered Metals Inc. plant was inspected in May after the Ridgway, Pennsylvania-based company reported the hospitalization of an employee whose right leg was crushed while loading cardboard into a stationary trash compactor, which resulted in the worker's leg being amputated, the agency said Monday in a statement.

The metal parts manufacturer was issued 30 serious citations, including four general duty clause citations, which are rooted in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970's mandates that employers furnish a workplace environment free of recognized hazards likely to cause or causing death and comply with the act's safety and health standards, according to OSHA.

The agency determined that Clarion failed to provide employees with access to emergency stop buttons while loading and unloading a stationary compactor, which directly contributed to the employee's leg injury and amputation, according to the press release. The company also exposed workers to dangers including unprotected machinery, struck-by hazards and the use of uninspected and damaged equipment, according to the release.

Clarion also did not provide the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination series to all employees with occupational exposure, according to the citations.

The company was also issued seven other-than-serious citations, including for unilluminated exit signs and incomplete logging of all recordable injuries and illnesses, according to the citations.

“Because Clarion Sintered Metals failed to take action to protect its employees and correct unsafe conditions at its plant, a worker needlessly suffered the loss of a limb,” Theresa Naim, OSHA's area director in Erie, Pennsylvania, said in the statement. “Through effective use of machine guarding and employer-provided worker training on how to do the job safely, this incident could have been prevented.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.