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Plant Fined after Painter Half-Blinded

Friday, January 3, 2014

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A Columbus, OH, metal staircase manufacturing facility faces $90,090 in proposed penalties after a head injury left a painter blind in one eye and half-sightless in the other.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited McNeil Group, doing business as Pinnacle Metal Products, for one willful, 10 serious and one other-than-serious violation.

Pinnacle Metal Products
Photos: Pinnacle Metal Products

Pinnacle Metal Products faces over $90,000 in proposed penalties after a worker suffered a serious head injury, blinding him in one eye.

The 42-year-old worker was on a scissors lift in June to paint steel ceiling beams when the lift caught his head between the beam and the lift's guardrail, OSHA said. The injury resulted in blindness in one eye and a loss of 50 percent of vision in the other eye.

According to OSHA, the worker did not receive adequate training on operating a scissors lift.

'Unacceptable'

"It's unacceptable that Pinnacle Metal Products failed to train workers properly in the operation of scissor lifts and to ensure adequate guards were in use on machinery in their facility, ultimately resulting in severe injury to this worker," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus.

"Companies must implement safeguards and create a culture of safety. Companies must provide workers with adequate training and ensure workers comprehend and understand safety precautions," Zubaty said.

Pinnacle Metal Products did not immediately respond Monday (Dec. 30) to a request for comment.

One of the serious violations was issued Dec. 3, 2013; the others were issued Dec. 12.

The Citations

The willful violation alleges failure to provide adequate machine guarding and exposing workers to struck-by and amputation hazards. The proposed penalty is $46,200.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

OSHA citations

The metal staircase manufacturing facility has been cited by OSHA several times in the last decade.

The 10 serious violations, which reflect substantial probability of death or serious injury, allege failure to:

  • Keep employees free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm ($3,850);
  • Provide a medical evaluation before employees used respirators ($3,850);
  • Establish energy control procedures and training for machines and equipment ($5,390);
  • Make sure nameplates were in place to indicate a machine's weight and capacity ($3,850);
  • Inspect overhead cranes daily and monthly and mark web slings for rated capacities ($3,850);
  • Fix proper guards on machines to prevent amputation exposure ($5,390);
  • Properly adjust work rests and safety guards on offhand grinding machines ($3,850);
  • Make sure employees performing mig welding operations used welding helmets or hand shields to reduce ultraviolet light exposure ($3,850);
  • Make disconnecting means for crane dock rails readily accessible to employees ($3,850); and
  • Train employees on hazards associated with operating a scissor lift ($5,390).

One other-than-serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $770, was also issued because the employer did not record a work-related injury within seven calendar days.

Pinnacle Metal Products has 15 business days from receiving the citations and penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA, or contest the findings.

Past OSHA Violations

Pinnacle Metal Products was cited for two serious violations in December 2011 for hazards related to powered industrial trucks and machines. The company paid $5,880 in penalties.

In 2007, the company paid $962.50 in penalties for one serious and one other-than-serious violation for machine hazards.

Pinnacle Metal Products was cited for two other-than-serious violations in 2004 for hazards related to medical services and first aid and lockout/tagout controls. The company did not have to pay a penalty.

   

Tagged categories: Hazards; Health and safety; Metals; OSHA; Worker training

Comment from Car F., (1/6/2014, 3:05 PM)

Pinnacle Metal Products is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility, monetary fines are not enough, why not apply the “three strikes you are out” principle and send these criminals to serve time?, how much pain and suffering they have to inflict on people before they are held personally accountable?, would a repeated offender be allowed to rob the same convenience store one, two or three times before being locked up?...what is the difference?


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