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A Georgia battery manufacturer is facing $127,300 in proposed fines from federal health and safety regulators after an employee suffered a partial finger amputation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful and 10 serious violations to Milton, Georgia-based Exide Technologies after December 2015 inspections — one of which was launched after the company reported an unguarded machine partially amputated a 32-year-old worker's left middle finger at the company's Salina, Kansas, plant, according to a news release issued by the agency on Thursday.
Inspectors found the amputation injury occurred when the strip caster's left hand was caught in the unguarded belts, pulleys and gears of a lead chopping machine at the facility.
OSHA also found that workers were exposed to electrical and machine hazards and issued a hazard alert letter to the plant for failing to implement a heat-stress program, according to the release.
“Exide Technologies is exposing workers to dangerous electrical and machine hazards that can cause devastating and life-changing injuries like the one this worker suffered,” Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita, Kansas, said in a statement. “While working as a strip caster, this man joined 65 other Kansas workers who, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports suffered preventable, workplace amputation injuries in 2015. Exide needs to clean up its act and take immediate action to fix these hazards.”
The company said in a statement that it does not comment on pending proceedings.
Employers reported more than 10,000 severe injuries in the first year of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's revised reporting rule, far short of the number that should have been reported, according to the agency.