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ATW Automation Fined $63,000 by OSHA

Another example of lockout/tagout not being correctly enforced after a worker died from injuries caused by a conveyor.

The worker, who worked for ATW Automation INC, was trapped underneath the conveyor as it lowered during a ‘power down’ process in Dayton, USA. The unnamed man died from injuries from the incident several days later.

As a result, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have cited nine different safety violations as being directly linked to the incident.  OSHA is directly responsible for enforcing health and safety law in the USA, and citations by the body can incur huge fines.

"ATW Automation has a responsibility to mandate effective measures that control hazardous energy in its manufacturing facility to ensure that machines will not become unexpectedly energized, which poses a risk of injury or death to workers. Failing to do so resulted in a tragedy," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Employers who are cited for safety, especially repeat, violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

ATW Automation had already been slapped with a violation in a 2008 inspection which showed they didn’t conduct and document periodic inspections of specific energy control procedures in their fabrication and tool room departments.  The repeat inspection carried in the wake of the horrible incident outlined above means that ATW now have been hit with a repeat violation, as steps have not been taken to implement the necessary procedures.

The latest incident also caused OSHA to give ATW seven serious violations, which are given out because there is a large likelihood of death or serious physical harm to which the employer has been negligent towards. The violations are:

  • Failure to guard the area around the roll lift conveyor
  • Failure to provide training for employees on protective measures when working around electrical equipment
  • Failure to ensure that workers  where the correct safety glasses
  • Failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment for workers using a metal grinding wheel
  • Failure to implement an effective lockout/tagout program for machines’ energy sources and notify affected workers of “power down” conditions
  • Failure to develop specific energy control procedures for equipment
  • Failure to train workers in the correct implementation of lockout/tagout, including the proper procedures to isolate and lock out all energy sources for machines in the fabrication and tool room departments

 

Other, minor violations were also cited by OSHA. With all of these violations being upheld the company faces total penalties of around the figure of $63000.

ATW Automation now has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.

If Lockout/tagout procedures were enforced in this company, there’s every chance that this incident would have been completely avoided, the company wouldn’t be slapped with all these citations and the man who lost his life would still be alive.

By correctly isolating the conveyor before the gentleman started work, this incident would have never occurred because there would be no energy source present to drive the conveyor and injure him as he worked. Since lockout/tagout wasn’t used, energy was still allowed to flow, resulting in the horrible incident.