Worker Crushes Hand on Ironer Machine, Commercial Laundry Fined $49,935

OSHA's inspection found that the machine had not first been de-energized and had its power source locked out before maintenance was performed.

OSHA has cited Royal Institutional Services Inc., a commercial laundry located in Somerville, Mass., for four alleged violations of workplace safety standards following a worker injury. OSHA opened its inspection after learning that a mechanic sustained a crushing hand injury on Jan. 26 while lubricating the chain of an ironer machine that was running. The laundry, which is owned by Angelica Corp., faces a total of $49,935 in proposed fines.

OSHA's inspection found that the machine had not first been de-energized and had its power source locked out before maintenance was performed, as required by the agency's hazardous energy control or "lockout/tagout" standard. In addition, employees authorized to perform maintenance were not effectively trained to safely perform such activities, and were not evaluated to ensure that they used and understood adequate energy control procedures.

"It's not enough for an employer to have a hazardous energy control program in place. It must be effective, and authorized employees must be effectively trained so they will understand and safely utilize proper procedures," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "Failure to do so can result in serious injury, such as occurred here."

OSHA cited Royal Institutional Services for one repeat violation with a fine of $35,000 for the lack of energy control procedures; two serious violations with $14,000 in fines for the lack of effective training and evaluation; and one other-than-serious violation with a fine of $935 for a lack of documented lockout procedures for a machine. The repeat citation stems from the laundry having been cited by OSHA in March 2006 for a similar hazard.

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