Worker Amputations Lead to $266K in Fines for Georgia Manufacturer

Following two separate incidents resulting in amputations within a 30-day period, Crespac Inc., a Tucker, Ga.-based manufacturer of thermoformed parts and packaging, has been cited with 34 safety and health violations by OSHA, with proposed penalties totaling $266,400. The agency is citing the company with three willful, four repeat, 19 serious, and one other-than-serious safety violations, as well as five serious and two other-than-serious health violations. The safety violations add up to $249,200, and the health violations add up to an additional $17,200.

Referring to the amputation incidents, OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office Director Gei-Thae Breezley said, "In both instances, management knew of deficiencies but acted with plain indifference by failing to correct the problems in a timely manner that could have prevented these amputations."

Specializing in the use of recycled and renewable plastic resources, Crespac makes designs and makes custom thermoformed products for the home improvement and consumer products retail markets. Its plants have an extrusion capacity of more than 30 million pounds per year, and the company operates a variety of multi-format thermoforming lines that can accommodate both small and large volume applications. It also offers an array of secondary labeling, packaging and cartoning services to meet specific retail applications.

The company is being cited for repeat violations related to having slippery and wet floors, lack of safety guards on machines, machines being operated with broken parts, and employees being exposed to electrical shocks. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any of a company's other facilities in federal enforcement states.

The willful citations Crespac faces result from the company's failure to ensure that all machines had proper safety guards, functional emergency stop cords, and usable safety interlock switches installed on machinery, OSHA said. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious violations include fall hazards, slipping and tripping hazards, entrapment hazards, failure to provide proper fire training and equipment, failure to properly train forklift operators, electrical hazards, noise hazards, exposure to hazardous chemicals, and an insufficient respirator program for employees. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Other-than-serious violations relate to the company's failure to conduct timely inspections of overhead cranes and related equipment and recordkeeping deficiencies in required OSHA incident logs.

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

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