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Safety violation: Worker's hair caught in unguarded machine

An Occupational Safety and Health Department area director says the agency is often disheartened with the findings of investigations. It is not uncommon for an investigation to reveal that work injuries were the result of repeated safety violations. An investigation to determine the cause of a recent Ohio workplace accident showed that a worker's life-changing injuries were caused by a safety violation that had also formed part of two other incidents this year.

For the third time this year, OSHA investigators were called to the McComb plant of the largest cookie manufacturer in the country. This time, the victim was a 41-year-old female worker whose hair was pulled into a machine. It was determined that her hairnet got snagged in moving machine parts while she was cleaning the floor. The worker had to be hospitalized for four days for treatment of severe injuries to her scalp and multiple other lacerations.

OSHA agents found similar violations this time as those found in the accidents that were investigated in April and September. The machines in the factory were left unguarded, allowing workers to make accidental contact with the dangerous working parts. The two previous incidents to which they referred were both amputation accidents in which two workers lost fingertips due to unguarded machinery.

It is difficult to imagine the trauma suffered by this worker before she was freed from the machine. Fortunately, her medical expenses and lost wages may be recoverable. Regardless whether the injury resulted from a safety violation, any injured worker may pursue benefits claims through the Ohio workers' compensation program. In cases in which long-term treatment is required, or when disabilities result from workplace injuries, additional compensation may be awarded.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "3 OSHA Citations Since April 2015 for Nation's Largest Cookie, Cracker Manufacturer", Dec. 1, 2015

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