June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

OSHA fines Liverpool Twp. company up to $89K for worker’s crushed hand

LIVERPOOL TWP. — The Superior Roll Forming Co. faces up to $89,500 in federal safety fines after a worker’s hand was crushed in a 150-ton press last year.

The accident occurred Nov. 14 at the company’s facility, 5535 Wegman Drive.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued four serious safety violations after an investigation found two repeat violations of machine guarding and “lockout/tagout” procedures.

“Superior Roll Forming continuously fails to protect workers operating power presses,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “This is completely inexcusable.”

The injured worker was removing a metal piece from the press and his hand was exposed because necessary safeguards had been disabled and the company had failed to install barrier guards, according to the OSHA report.

“Safety precautions are vital when operating power presses because injuries involving this machinery and equipment often result in death or permanent disability, as it tragically did in this incident,” Eberts said.

The repeat violations involved the plant’s power presses, which assemble metal or other materials for the automotive and other industries, according to an OHSA statement released Tuesday. The company was cited for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent operation of the power press while the worker was removing the part.

Superior Roll Forming previously was cited for machine guarding and lockout/tagout violations on its power presses in 2013. 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.

The company was cited for two additional “serious violations” involving safe operation of mechanical power presses, including inadequate clutch brake controls and failing to conduct periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures.

A violation is considered serious if there is substantial chance that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days to respond to the proposed $89,500 in fines from receipt of its citations. It can comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Contact reporter David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.