Lockout/Tagout Fatality Leads to $51,300 OSHA Fine

An OSHA investigation was initiated in November 2011 following the death of a worker who was crushed in a coating machine while attempting to clear a jam.

OSHA has cited American Biltrite Inc. for one repeat and nine serious safety and health violations at its Moorestown, N.J., facility. An OSHA investigation was initiated in November 2011 following the death of a worker who was crushed in a coating machine while attempting to clear a jam. The company failed to use energy control, or “lockout/tagout,” procedures prior to allowing the employee to enter the machine’s danger area. Proposed penalties total $51,300.

The serious violations include failing to provide a lockout/tagout program for the energy sources of equipment, provide appropriate working space around electrical equipment, provide an eyewash station, ensure that proper equipment guards were in place to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving parts, ensure the proper use of flexible cords, take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors, and require employees to wear goggles when handling corrosive chemicals.

The repeat violation is permitting Class I flammable liquids to be dispensed into containers without the nozzle and the container being electrically connected, which creates the potential for ignition. The company was cited for the same violation in 2010.

“This company continues to compromise the safety of its workers by disregarding OSHA’s safety and health standards,” said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office. “Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so.”

Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based American Biltrite Inc. manufactures and distributes commercial flooring and performance sheet rubber throughout America and employs 130 workers at the Moorestown site.

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