BARBERTON, OH ‒ In less than two years, three workers at a leading tool manufacturer in Barberton suffered injuries from unguarded machinery.

The latest injury occurred on Oct. 26, 2022, when a worker suffered a left thumb amputation while hand-feeding parts into a drill press using air-activated clamps. The worker had been on the job for just three months. In December 2020 and June 2022, two other workers performing similar tasks suffered laceration injuries.

Responding to the employer report of the amputation, investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Wright Tool for one willful violation of machine guarding standards, as well as two serious and one other-than-serious violations. The company faces proposed penalties of $164,742. Employers are required to report amputations to OSHA within 24 hours.

“Wright Tool was aware of the need to improve their guarding but failed to do so,” explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “Without proper guards and safety procedures in place, moving machine parts can cause severe workplace injuries. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from hazards and train them on how to do the job safely.”

OSHA found the company also failed to conduct hazard assessments to identify personal protective equipment needs and other requirements, did not test energy control procedures at least annually or train each employee to ensure they understood hazardous energy control procedures, and failed to enclose shafting.

Since 1927, Wright Tool Company has forged wrenches, ratchets, sockets and attachments with distribution to the automotive, hardware and industrial markets.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA and safeguarding equipment and protecting workers from amputations.

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