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Court upholds citations after fingertip amputation

Court upholds citations after fingertip amputation

A circuit court denied a poultry sanitation company’s petition for review of several serious citations it received after a worker lost a fingertip on the job.

In Packers Sanitation Services Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta unanimously upheld an administrative law judge’s finding that the company failed to protect its employees from dangerous machinery.

In April 2017, an employee at Packers Sanitation Services Inc. Ltd., headquartered in Kieler, Wisconsin, was cleaning a poultry processing facility in Georgia when his gloved hand was caught in a rotating auger on a quill pulling machine, leading to the amputation of his fingertip.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for failing to appropriately guard the quill pulling machine and maintain safe walking-working spaces, as well as failure to include the incident in the company’s OSHA 300 log.

Packers contested the citations, but an administrative law judge affirmed them. Packers petitioned for review, but the appellate court denied the petition.

The court found that sufficient evidence existed to support the determination that the company was aware that employees were exposed to hazards, including broken drain covers on walking surfaces marked with cones, and that employees were exposed to “nip points” on machines with no external line or barrier to prevent them from accessing the nip points.