For OSHA Construction and General Industry

Machine Safety Procedures Absent in Employee Death

Machine safety procedures with proper training can save lives.Machine safety procedures were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its inssued citations to Illinois-based steel-processing company, Coilplus Illinois Inc., for six serious safety and health violations, stemming from the June 23rd, 2016 death of a 50-year-old employee at a Plainfield-facility. The OSHA-proposed penalty for these violations is $53,628

The incident took place when the aforementioned employee was removing scrap metal from a scrap pit. The employee was standing on a pneumatic platform while working and accidentally caught the pneumatic line and disconnected it, causing the platform to return to its vertical positioning, leaving the employee to fall into the pit. When in the pit, the metal trim entangled the man and he was pulled through the metal-balling mechanism, below, resulting in his death. Numerous absences of machine safety procedures were called out.

OSHA found the following violations, upon their inspection:

  • Failure to evaluate for permit-required confined spaces or post adequate warning signage
  • Failure to install handrails on stairways
  • Failure to inspect machine safety procedures
  • Failure to install and incorporate lockout devices for machinery/equipment
  • Failure to incorporate adequate guarding to eliminate fall-hazards around machinery
  • Failure to incorporate handrails around the scrap pit area, exposing workers to a 9-foot fall

Kathy Webb, OSHA Calument City area director, said, “A man died, tragically, and his family, friends, and co-workers are left to suffer an overwhelming loss. Coilplus needs to make immediate changes to its safety and health programs to ensure workers are guarded from machine hazards at its facilities, nationwide.”

Many of the potential injuries that employees dealing with large machinery can possibly sustain are life-threatening. Furthermore, several steps in machine safety procedures can often be taken to ensure that fatal accidents do not occur in the workplace. In the case of the accident listed, here, adequate handrails, guarding, and lockout devices would have made the difference between life and death. It is incumbent upon the safety-leader to utilize those resources available, such as an OSHA-Authorized training course or on-site inspection, to mitigate such a disaster.