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Envelope printer cited for safety violations after 3 amputations

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An Ohio envelope printing facility is facing $88,200 in proposed fines from federal regulators after three employees suffered amputation injuries within four months.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Columbiana, Ohio-based Envelope 1 Inc. on Tuesday after an inspection determined the company failed to protect employees from moving machine parts on 26 of 27 company production lines, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.

In June, a 52-year-old machine operator had a finger amputated when it caught in a pinch point of printing section rollers as he wiped a roller, according to OSHA.

In mid-September, a 29-year-old employee suffered partial amputation of a finger on his left hand as he cleared material from a scoring section of an envelope line, according to the agency. His hands were exposed to operating parts because the machine lacked adequate safety guards, an OSHA inspection determined.

And in late September, a 73-year-old worker had part of this thumb amputated as he adjusted rollers during the setup of an envelope printing section, according to the agency.

OSHA cited the company for three willful violations, including the absence of procedures to control potentially hazardous energy, and four serious violations, including the lack of adequate machine guarding, according to the citations.

“When repeated amputation injuries occur at a business, safety is not a priority,” Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said in the statement. “After OSHA initiated its first inspection involving an amputation in June 2015, Envelope 1 failed to take immediate steps to protect workers. If they had, it may have prevented other injuries.”

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the citations and proposed fines.