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Ohio Employer Exposes Employees to Dangerous Risks of Amputation


The Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container company, located in Hubbard, Ohio, is currently facing proposed fines of up to $589,000 after federal inspectors found the employer had exposed its employees to serious risks of amputation from carelessly unguarded machinery in the workplace. Such injuries give rise to workers compensation claims.

Inspectors from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration uncovered no less than 11 safety violations, including seven violations of basic rules characterized as "willful," and three transgressions determined to be repeat violations for which the company had been cited before.

Showing a callous disregard for the lives and safety of employees, the company apparently did not place guarding needed on machinery operated by employees simply because its presence might lower production or slow down the process. The company is accused of having knowingly permitted its employees to operate the unsafe machines without the required guarding, despite the risk of terrible injury.

Inadequate guarding was found by inspectors on six slitter machines, whose blades could severely injure employees' arms or hands. The company received safety violations for the same thing in 2009. The company is also accused of failing to provide employees with fire extinguisher training and guarding blades of what were called two "mechanical guillotine shears." Amputation of fingers or limbs by such equipment can result in permanent disability or even death, making the failure to take reasonable and legally required precautions all the more outrageous.

Employees injured in workplace accidents are protected by workers' compensation laws and see consult with an attorney to make sure that all their medical bills get paid by the employer and that they are compensated for lost wages and disability. In some instances, products liability claims or personal injury lawsuits may also be possible against equipment manufacturers or companies that were negligent in installing or repairing equipment

Source: U.S. Department of Labor OSHA Regional News Release, "U.S Labor Department's OSHA fines Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container Inc. $589,000 for exposing workers to amputation hazards from unguarded machinery. Company also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program," April 15, 2013