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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [04/16/2012]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 12-0678-CHI

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Boomerang Rubber in Botkins, Ohio, after worker suffers arm amputation while performing machine maintenance

Company placed in agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program

BOTKINS, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Boomerang Rubber Inc. with 31 health and safety violations including two willful and five repeat after a worker's arm was amputated while he was performing maintenance on a rubber processing machine at the truck mat and mud flap manufacturing plant.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the company's facility in Botkins on Oct. 6, 2011, under the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations. In order to thoroughly examine the facility's operations, OSHA later expanded its examination to a joint safety and health inspection.

"Boomerang Rubber has a responsibility to protect manufacturing workers by ensuring that equipment is de-energized prior to allowing maintenance to be performed," said Kim Nelson, director of OSHA's Toledo Area Office. "Some of the most hazardous conditions in this facility had been brought to the attention of management during previous inspections. Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

The willful violations are failing to develop and utilize energy control procedures while employees are assigned to perform servicing and maintenance on rubber processing machinery, and provide machine guarding on a conveyor belt, trim blade and idler rollers. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violations involve failing to provide fall protection, require the use of personal protective equipment for electrical work, ensure that only qualified persons perform tasks involving energized electrical equipment, train employees on the purpose of the hazardous energy control program, and provide workers who are assigned servicing and maintenance tasks with locks and tags to affix to energy isolating devices. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2008.

Additionally, 23 serious safety and health violations include failing to provide eye protection; conduct periodic inspections of hazardous energy control procedures; provide machine guarding on trimmers, a bench grinder and mills; ensure that the fire exit is not blocked; provide training on hazardous chemicals; provide guardrails; and develop a bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan, a hazard communication plan and a hearing conservation program. Additionally, several electrical safety violations include failing to use safe work practices in situations where employees are exposed to shock and electrocution hazards, remove damaged equipment from service, conduct periodic equipment testing and remove a broken electrical disconnect from service. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation is requiring workers to pay for protective gloves. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties total $265,160. The citations can be viewed at

Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Boomerang Rubber in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

Prior to this inspection, Boomerang Rubber was inspected by OSHA once in 2008, resulting in citations for 12 serious violations related to fall, electrical, lockout/tagout, material handling, personal protective equipment and compressed air hazards.

Boomerang Rubber has 15 business days from receipt of its current citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Toledo office at 419-259-7542.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.