OSHA Blasts Firearms Manufacturer for Machine Hazards

OSHA says that widespread machine guarding and lockout/tagout hazards at a North Haven, Conn.-based manufacturer of small firearms has resulted in $42,850 in proposed fines from the agency. The Marlin Firearms Co. has been cited for a total of 24 alleged serious and other-than-serious violations of workplace safety standards following a comprehensive OSHA inspection that began at the company's plant March 3.

The inspection identified dozens of instances throughout the plant where workers were exposed to possible lacerations, amputation, and crushing injuries from unguarded moving parts of mechanical power presses and other machinery as well as a lack of specific procedures to prevent the accidental startup of numerous machines during set-up, maintenance, and repair. The inspection also found electrical, fall, and compressed-air hazards as well as improperly recorded injuries and illnesses.

"Workers can lose their fingers, limbs, or lives in a few seconds if a machine starts up unexpectedly or its moving parts are not guarded against contact," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "There is no reason for those injuries to occur if the employer ensures the proper safeguards are effectively and continuously in place and in use."

OSHA issued the company 20 serious citations, with $41,850 in fines, for the safety hazards, and four other-than- serious citations, with a $1,000 fine, for a recordkeeping violation. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Information about OSHA's machine guarding and hazardous energy control (lockout/tagout) standards, including interactive eTools, is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/machineguarding/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.

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