OSHA Fines Ventilation Manufacturer $511,000 in Worker's Death

OSHA has cited Loren Cook Co. of Springfield with seven alleged willful and three alleged serious violations after a worker was killed by an ejected machine part on May 13.

"Loren Cook Co. willfully allowed its employees to work on dangerous equipment without safeguarding the machinery and exposed workers to debris ejected while operating manual spinning lathes," said Jordan Barab, acting assistant secretary for OSHA. "It is imperative that employers take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment."

Seven instance-by-instance willful citations at $70,000 each are proposed for failing to guard seven manual spinning lathes, with a total proposed willful penalty of $490,000. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

Three serious citations with penalties totaling $21,000 are proposed for a lack of adequate personal protective equipment for workers' faces, extremities, and hands. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

The proposed fines total $511,000. Loren Cook manufactures industrial ventilation equipment and employs approximately 800 workers, with about 580 located at the Springfield site and the remainder at a North Carolina site. A woman who answered the phone Thursday morning at Loren Cook Co.'s headquarters said the company would not comment about the case.

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