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Columbus Workers' Compensation Law Blog

OSHA cites Ohio company for amputation injuries

For any worker, the knowledge that a workplace injury that caused a catastrophic injury could have been prevented if only the employer had complied with safety regulations must be devastating. Such must be the feelings of an Ohio worker who suffered and amputation injury at his place of work last December. The employee of the auto insulation manufacturer will have to go through life without a right hand after his hand, wrist and part of his forearm were amputated.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the conclusion of the investigation was that the employer failed to install the necessary protective guards on the shredding machine that caused the tragic injury. Reportedly, the 46-year-old worker was guiding material into the industrial shredder when his hand was caught in the rotating parts, pulling his arm into the machine. OSHA says another facility of this company was cited for similar safety violations in Feb. 2016.

Safety violation might have led to worker being buried in trench

Construction companies in Ohio and all other states must take specific precautions to protect workers who have to enter trenches or other excavations. The slightest safety violation could result in a fatality, and a trench can become a grave in the blink of an eye. When a trench wall collapses, anybody who is in the excavation at that time can instantly be buried under tons of dirt.

A 37-year-old man was fortunate to survive a recent trench collapse in a neighboring state. Reportedly, the incident occurred at a construction site on a recent Tuesday evening. The construction worker was in the trench -- apparently working on covering the hole -- when the walls collapsed. He was quickly covered by clay and dirt.

OSHA says worker's death caused by serious safety violation

Following a proposed fine of almost $34,000 to an Ohio construction company, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined a mechanical services company more than $12,600 after the December death of an employee. Investigators determined the fatality resulted from a safety violation. Authorities graded the violation as serious.

On Dec. 1, an employee of the Toledo company returned to the machine shop at approximately 5 p.m. to check on a co-worker who continued working on his own when other workers left. He was shocked to find his 49-year-old colleague dead on top of the lathe. No one was around to witness the incident, and OSHA investigators had to use security footage to document what caused the tragic death.

Safety violation at steel manufacturer causes fractured pelvis

One of the most important safety regulations for industrial facilities is the protection of workers against making contact with moving machine parts. Failure to ensure that functional lockout/tagout devices are in place is a significant safety violation that frequently leads to catastrophic injuries. Following a December incident at an automotive steel manufacturer in Ohio, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an investigation and proposed a fine of almost $280,000.

According to OSHA, a 64-year-old worker in the factory was engaged in equipment maintenance on Dec. 5 when he was struck by a moving machine part. Energy to the machine was not isolated during the maintenance procedure, and the man suffered a pelvic fracture. Inspectors determined that the necessary lockout/tagout devices were not fitted as required.

Unsafe tire dealerships could spawn permanent impairment

Employees of tire dealerships in Ohio and other states face a unique set of hazards. Along with the normal risks that are present in any workplace and typically managed with good maintenance, come these industry-specific dangers that might lead to permanent impairment or worse. Injury data collected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and authorities in the tire industry provided information about the major hazards and allowed authorities to create safety regulations to prevent injuries.

The primary hazards in the service areas of these facilities include risks as basic as the acts of inflating tires, to the lifting, jacking and supporting of vehicles. If the proper steps and safety precautions such as lockout or tag-out procedures are not followed, the vehicles can roll over. Such an incident can pose significant danger to the employees working in the area.

Safety violation: Miraculous rescue from collapsed trench

Unprotected trenches are potential graves for workers of employers who disregard employee safety. Unfortunately, this is a safety violation that has claimed the lives of many workers nationwide, including in Ohio. In a miraculous rescue, a worker was recently saved from a collapsed trench in a neighboring state.

Rescue workers were summoned to a construction site midmorning on a recent Monday. They arrived to find a construction worker buried up to his shoulders in a trench that was 8 feet deep. It was clear that the wall of the trench had collapsed. Reportedly, there were no safety precautions in place -- there was no trench box to protect the worker, nor were the walls shored to prevent collapse.

OSHA fines factory owner $570,000 for amputation injury

In Dec. 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to the premises of a manufacturer of auto insulation in Ohio. OSHA investigators arrived at the factory to investigate a workplace accident that involved an amputation. The agency recently announced that the investigation had been concluded, and a fine of almost $570,000 was proposed.

OSHA says a 46-year-old employee was operating a shredding machine on that day and got his hand caught in the machine while guiding waste into it. This incident injured the worker's hand and wrist; in fact, a part of his forearm had to be amputated. Investigators identified five violations related to machine safety -- two of which were repeat violations, and three willful violations.

Safety violation: 1 hospitalized after crane topples over

Large construction equipment, such as cranes, poses multiple hazards to all employees and others in the surrounding area in Ohio and wherever they are operated. Even with the most accomplished operator, the slightest safety violation can have devastating consequences. When a crane recently toppled over in another state, it was surprising that there were no fatalities. In fact, only one worker landed in the hospital, and another required no more than on-site medical treatment.

Reportedly, during the removal of a large street sign that was positioned over an intersection, the crane that was necessary to accomplish the task fell over. The busy intersection soon had two more cranes in it to get rid of the massive sign and the toppled crane. The removal of the sign formed part of a construction project that will bring an additional bus lane while also widening the roadway.

Robotic workers pose threats of causing permanent disability

The numbers of workplace accidents involving robots seem insignificant at present. However, with more and more of them entering the manufacturing industry nationwide, including in Ohio, mechanical workers may cause increased numbers of on-the-job injuries in the future. Any human worker who shares his or her workplace with a robotic colleague may be vulnerable to suffer injuries that might cause permanent disability or worse.

Records of accidents involving robots indicate that most incidents happened during procedures such as maintenance, programming, setups or testing, rather than during manufacturing operations. However, in 1979 the swing of a robotic arm caused the first death when it struck a factory worker who was gathering spares from storage. Then, in 2015, a mechanical worker crushed an employee to death in a factory from where the Volkswagen originates, and another death occurred within a month when a fatality occurred in another country under similar circumstances. Records indicate that 27 U.S. workers have died at the hands of robotic workers between 1984 and 2013.

Safety violation might have caused driver's death at Pier 48

An unexplained death occurred recently at a facility along the Ohio River at which cargo is loaded and received. It is not yet clear whether a safety violation caused the fatality, but an investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the worker's death was initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is currently regarded an industrial accident, and investigated as such.

Reportedly, the body of a truck driver was discovered at approximately 8:30 p.m. on a recent Monday. Authorities say two rows of blocks pinned the deceased worker. The following morning, OSHA investigators arrived at the scene to launch an investigation to determine what happened to cause the fatality. The employer and potential witnesses were interviewed to help with the investigation.

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Morgan & Justice Co., LPA

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