March 2021 Enforcement

US D.O.L proposes $264K in fines for Montana manufacturer for serious willful violations following amputation

OSHA

When OSHA inspectors arrived at Western Bee Supply Inc. in Polson to investigate a recent incident that resulted in a partial finger amputation, they found a workplace with unguarded saw blades, rotating machinery, belts, pulleys and chains. Machine operators were cleaning saw blades and other machinery without locking out and tagging out equipment to prevent sudden starts, as required. A review of recent work logs by inspectors found the amputation wasn’t the only serious injury to occur on the machine involved, just the first one that had been reported to them.

“One worker suffered a serious injury and another required hospitalization in an incident unreported previously at Western Bee. Both incidents were completely preventable had the company simply installed proper safeguards,” said OSHA Area Director Art Hazen in Billing, Montana. “Employers are required to provide workers with a safe and healthful place of employment.”

OSHA cited Western Bee and its staffing contractor, LC Staffing Service, for a range of serious and willful violations, and assessed a collective $264,478 in proposed penalties. OSHA cited Western Bee for failing to install guards on various equipment; control hazardous energy; test workers for hearing damage due to noise overexposure; and report the amputation within 24 hours as required.

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Audrey Copeland
Author: Audrey Copeland

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