BELLEFONTAINE, OH ‒ An Ohio industrial rubber hose manufacturer with a long history of federal workplace safety issues could have prevented a 25-year-old worker from suffering severe crushing injuries by following required safety measures, the U.S. Department of Labor has determined.Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to a report from HBD/Thermoid Inc. of the worker’s contusions and fractures and their hospitalization on June 22, 2023. The incident marks the seventh time the agency has investigated safety issues at the Bellefontaine plant since 2013.The OSHA inspector learned the worker suffered injuries due to the company’s failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures. Powered belts were still energized and unguarded, pulling the worker into the machine causing the injuries. The agency cited two repeat violations, one willful violation, one serious and one other-than-serious violation, involving lack of adequate machine guarding and required machine safety measures that isolate energy to protect workers during setup or servicing activities, commonly known as lockout/tagout procedures. OSHA assessed HBD/Thermoid Inc. with $389,534 in proposed penalties.The company received a citation for lack of machine guarding on the same equipment in March 2023. “This employee suffered preventable injuries because their employer continues to ignore its responsibility to protect their workers,” said OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. “We cited the company for safety violations on the very same machine in March 2023, and they still failed to protect their employees. It’s time for HBD/Thermoid Inc. to make the safety of their employees a priority.”OSHA’s national emphasis program on amputation hazards specifically addresses common machine safety hazards found in manufacturing facilities. A wholly owned subsidiary of HBD Industries in Dublin, HBD/Thermoid Inc. operates manufacturing facilities in Dublin as well as in Chanute, Kansas and Oneida, Tennessee. The company makes industrial hoses, conveyor belting and duct materials for use by a wide range of industries.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, lockout/tagout procedures and the National Emphasis Program on Amputation Hazards.
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