Federal investigators find employee suffered fatal injuries while duct tape held machine safety guards open at Kingsman plastics plant
KINGMAN, KS ‒ A Kingman plastics manufacturer’s failure to make sure required safety procedures were followed contributed to the death of a worker who suffered fatal injuries when he became entangled in a rotating part inside a bagging machine while trying to clear a jam, a federal workplace safety investigation found.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the Aug. 4, 2022, fatality at Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC and found that duct tape over the safety interlock prevented the machine from shutting down. The victim was caught by the machine and pulled into its rotating bars.
OSHA issued citations to the company, which operates as FabPro Polymers, for two grouped willful violations, one repeat violation and seven serious violations for the following conditions:
- The absence of adequate machine guarding.
- Not using lockout/tagout procedures to stop machines from operating during servicing and maintenance.
- Not training workers on lockout/tagout procedures.
- Exposing workers to slip and fall hazards from plastic particles and hydraulic fluid leaked on floors.
OSHA proposed penalties of $292,421. In 2019, the agency cited the company for similar violations at the facility which produces plastic fibers for use in cement and other construction products.
“Proper machine safety procedures and training could have prevented this worker from losing his life,” said OSHA Area Director Todd Underwood in Wichita, Kansas. “The manufacturing industry knows well that moving machine parts can be deadly, especially when proper guards are not used, and safety procedures are ignored.”
OSHA investigators found that the employer failed to make sure that lockout/tagout procedures were in place when unjamming machinery. The company also failed to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures.
A subsidiary of the MBCC Group of Germany, Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC produces and supplies construction materials and products worldwide.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.