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OSHA cites two companies over temporary workers' injuries

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A furniture manufacturer and staffing agency are facing $161,000 in possible fines from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration after temporary workers were seriously injured twice in 14 months.

Temporary workers at a manufacturing facility owned by Temple, Texas-based MooreCo Inc. were injured when inadequately guarded machines pulled them in, removing skin from the wrist up to the shoulder in the most recent incident, and from the wrist down in an earlier incident resulting in the amputation of that employee's fingertips, OSHA said Monday in a statement.

The agency cited MooreCo for three repeated violations, including exposing workers to moving machine parts and failing to shut down machinery properly, as well as six serious violations, and proposed $122,500 in total fines. The company was also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

“These violations exposed workers to dangerous moving machine parts that threaten life and limb,” Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin, Texas, said in the statement. “Placing MooreCo in the (program) means the agency will not tolerate excuses and will hold the company accountable for exposing workers to avoidable hazards.”

The May 2015 OSHA inspection was conducted in response to an employer referral under the agency's new reporting requirements, which went into effect on Jan. 1 and have sometimes confounded employers and their legal representatives.

OSHA also cited Milwaukee-based Manpower Group US Inc., the temporary staffing agency providing MooreCo with workers, for one repeated violation for failing to provide machine guarding and proposed a fine of $38,500.

Spokespersons for both companies could not be immediately reached for comment.