Alabama manufacturing facility exposed employees to safety hazards by using unguarded saws, Department of Labor investigation finds
ECLECTIC, AL ‒ The Texas-based operator of an Eclectic manufacturing facility could have prevented a 20-year-old worker from suffering an amputation if the employer had followed required federal safety standards, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation determined.
After Madix Inc. reported a March 23, 2023, employee injury, investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that, as the worker tried to adjust a coolant feed line on a tube saw, his glove became caught, and his hand was pulled into the saw’s spinning blade. The worker then suffered the amputation of three fingers.
A manufacturer of retail shelving and displays, Madix received citations for two repeat, three serious and three other-than-serious violations and faces $158,051 in proposed penalties.
OSHA’s inspection found the company:
- Allowed employees to perform maintenance on an automatic tube saw without following lockout-tagout procedures.
- Did not ensure employees had the knowledge and skills to safely apply, use and remove energy controls on automatic tube cutters.
- Permitted employees to operate a press machine with an unguarded material carriage, which exposed them to pinch-point hazards.
- Failed to provide guards for a tube-cutting saw’s blades, leaving employees exposed to amputation hazards.
- Did not repair a broken emergency stop button on the side control panel of an automatic saw.
Since 2018, OSHA inspections at two Madix Inc. facilities in Alabama and one in Texas have identified one willful violation and eight serious violations. The inspections included a 2019 OSHA investigation of an employee’s amputation injury in Eclectic that found similar machine guarding and lockout-tagout failures for which OSHA cited the company for three serious violations.
“A young man has suffered a life-altering injury simply because the employer failed to install machine guards and make sure to have lockout/tagout procedures in place to disable machinery,” said OSHA Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “Madix’s failures in past inspections raise concerns about how seriously the company takes its obligation to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace.”
Established in 1982, Madix Inc. is headquartered in Terrell, Texas. The company manufactures metal and wood shelving and displays for retail stores with facilities in Eclectic and Goodwater, Alabama, and warehouses in the U.S. and the U.K. Madix employs about 500 workers in Eclectic.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.