Medical Products Maker Fined $58K After Employee Loses Fingertip

OSHA has cited Dale Medical Products Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards after an employee lost the tip of a finger while operating a packaging machine in March. The Plainville, Mass.-based manufacturer and packager of medical equipment faces $58,100 in proposed fines.

According to the agency, the injury occurred when the worker's finger was pinched by a heat seal bar used to seal plastic bags. OSHA's inspection identified three such packaging machines in the plant that lacked required safeguards to keep employees from becoming caught in their points of operation. This condition exposed workers to laceration and amputation injuries, the agency said.

"It's imperative that machines be adequately guarded and the guarding continually maintained to prevent the possibility of accidents such as this one," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "In this case, three other similar machines were allowed to operate with missing or inadequate safeguards after the accident."

As a result of the inspection, OSHA issued the company one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $56,000, for the lack of machine guarding. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard of employee safety and health. The agency also issued the company two serious citations, with $2,100 in fines, for not providing a hazard communication program and training for employees working with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

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

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