MONROE, OH ‒ Responding to an employer report that a worker sustained a partial finger amputation while conducting cleaning operations at an Ohio automotive carpet manufacturer, federal safety inspectors found workers were exposed to operating machine parts as they cleared excess fiber material off chains, sprockets and other equipment. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the June 23, 2023, injury found that UGN Inc. did not provide or require the use of machine specific lockout procedures for machinery located in manufacturing cells that contained rotating drums, hot air boxes, burn boxes, chains and sprockets. The cells were enclosed on only three sides, which allowed workers to walk inside and around equipment removing excess fiber to prevent machine clogs during the manufacturing of carpet underlayment.OSHA cited the company for three repeat and four serious violations for not having required machine safety procedures, lack of machine guarding on rotating drums, failing to train employees in lockout procedures and not providing workers heat resistant personal protective equipment to protect them from exposure to thermal temperatures of up to 191 degrees fahrenheit while working around rotating drums, the hot air injection box and the burn box located inside cells. UGN Inc. faces $234,376 in proposed OSHA penalties and was placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. “In the past three years, employees of UGN have suffered several recordable injuries from machinery, including burns, broken bones, and now an amputation because the company continues to task workers with contacting machinery while it is in operation,” said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery in Cincinnati “UGN’s continued failure to implement machine safety procedures led to OSHA placing them in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, allowing us to expand our enforcement efforts to ensure this company is meeting its legal responsibility to protect workers on the job.”UGN was cited for similar machine safety violations in four previous investigations from 2019 to 2023. The Downers Grove, Illinois based company produces acoustic, interior trim and thermal management products for the automotive industry and operates facilities in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. 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 lockout/tagout procedures.
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