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Unguarded machine leads to worker's thumb amputation at Hammond, Wisconsin, polycoated paper manufacturing facility
HAMMOND, Wis. — After an unguarded laminating machine crushed a worker's hand and partially amputated his thumb, Loparex LLC has been cited for one willful safety violation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA initiated the inspection May 8, 2014, after receiving information about the injury at the Hammond facility, a manufacturer of polycoated and silicone-coated papers and films. Proposed penalties total $70,000.
"Allowing workers to operate dangerous machinery without the appropriate safety measures is unacceptable and often results in catastrophic injuries, such as this one," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Moving forward, this employer must be held accountable — not only for this injury, but for the safety of its workers."
OSHA's inspection found that on April 8, the worker's gloved hand was pulled into a moving part on the laminating machine when he reached up to wipe dripping liquid from a mold. There was inadequate machine guarding in place on the laminator. OSHA's investigation found that employees were exposed to the unguarded part approximately 10 times per 12-hour work shift.
Based in Cary, North Carolina, Loparex has manufacturing facilities in Iowa City, Iowa; Eden, North Carolina; China; India and the Netherlands. The company's products are used in applications, including graphic arts, medical, composites, solar and electronics. The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for similar violations in 2008.
Loparex has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Eau Claire Area Office at 715-832-9019.
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/.