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April 24, 2013
OSHA tells container company to put a lid on amputation hazards

Exposing employees to known risks and failing to correct previously cited hazards is proving a costly combination for a metal container company. OSHA cited the business with just 11 safety violations. But because they were characterized as willful and repeat, the proposed fines added up to nearly $600,000.

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OSHA sent inspectors out last fall after receiving a complaint that the employer was exposing machine operators to unguarded equipment, even though the same problem had been cited in 2009. This time, the agency determined that the employer knowingly let workers operate machines without proper guarding. Apparently the guard was not installed or had been removed because it slowed down operations.

The problems were serious enough to place the manufacturer into OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers. Under the SVEP, OSHA can inspect any of the employer’s facilities. This business has more than 30 U.S. production facilities and employs 12,000 workers.

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