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Ice Plant Faces Worker Safety Violations Fine After 2nd Worker Loses Limbs

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued nine worker safety violations to a Delaware ice plant this week after a second employee in three years lost limbs in a machine. The worker safety violations stem from an investigation into Seaford Ice, Inc., the second such investigation into the company in the last three years. The incident involved a worker who fell into a screw conveyor machine. The worker’s injuries were so severe, doctors had to amputate both his legs.

Details of the Worker Safety Violations

The worker safety violations OSHA found included the lack of a safety guard on the screw conveyor machine. The OSHA investigation found that Seaford Ice had removed the safety guard component that was designed to prevent serious injuries. Other worker safety violations included a lack of enclosure around machinery used to bag ice and dispense bag ties. The lack of enclosure around these machines could lead to loss of limb for workers stationed with two feet of the machines.

Major Fines For Worker Safety Violations

The investigation also revealed several other worker safety violations, including electrical hazards and the lack of a “lockout” program that would prevent an accidental startup of dangerous machinery. OSHA fined the company $77,000 for the nine worker safety violations. The company has the option to review the violations and request a conference with the OSHA area director. At this conference, Seaford Ice representatives can contest the findings and negotiate their penalties.

Seaford Targeted For Earlier Worker Safety Violations

OSHA had also investigated Seaford Ice for previous worker safety violations. A similar incident with the same machine cost a worker at the same plant his foot in June 2012. The investigation found that the safety guard had not been property installed. The agency fined Seaford Ice $4,480 and ordered the company to place a guard on the machine. When they investigated the latest round of worker safety violations, they found that the guard had been removed entirely.

OSHA: Worker Safety Violations “Unacceptable”

In a press statement, the director of the area OSHA office addressed the serious nature of the worker safety violations at Seaford Ice. The statement called the company’s lack of action after the 2012 accident “unacceptable.” It also said that the company “chose to expose workers to hazards” that led to the recent injury incident. The statement also said that employers who “fail to provide a safe and healthful workplace…will be held accountable.”

Source: Delaware Online

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NOTE: This blog post is a news story and does not constitute and endorsement of the Amaro Law Firm by any parties mentioned herein.

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