Woman Loses Arm in Machinery; Company Fined $130,500

OSHA has cited Rexnord Industries LLC with $130,500 in proposed penalties for violating federal workplace safety standards after a mechanical power press operator, removing parts from a parts dumper, had her arm amputated when the machine unexpectedly began to operate.

As a result of a January 2010 inspection, OSHA has issued Rexnord one willful, six serious, and one repeat citation. The willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $70,000, is for failing to provide proper guarding on the mechanical power presses to prevent an amputation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Some of the six serious citations, with proposed penalties of $25,500, include failing to provide proper machine guarding and to conduct regular, periodic, and weekly inspections of mechanical power presses and electrical hazards. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The company also received a $35,000 proposed fine for a repeat violation because it failed to provide proper protection to its employees working on metal cutting band saws and lathes. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last three years. According to OSHA, Rexnord has had more than 340 violations.

"There is no excuse for a company to disregard the safety and welfare of its workers by not following OSHA safety standards," said OSHA Area Director George Yoksas in Milwaukee. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers."

The company, which manufactures power transmission, conveying, and water management equipment, employs more than 5,300 workers at 22 facilities in the United States. It has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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