$10K Per Worker Fine in Machine Guarding Case

OSHA alleges Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container Inc. allow guards to be removed from slitting machines and other machinery.

OSHA announced it has cited Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container with 11 safety violations, seven classified as willful and three as repeat, for exposing workers to machine guarding hazards at its Hubbard, Ohio metal can manufacturing facility. The proposed fines of $589,000 are among the highest this year.

A complaint triggered the inspection that began Oct. 17, 2012. The company had been cited by OSHA for machine guarding violations on the same equipment in 2009, according to the agency. OSHA alleges the company allowed workers to be exposed to slitting machine and guillotine machine hazards with no guards installed, or guards had been removed because they slowed material positioning and production.

"Ball Aerosol's management made a decision to continue to expose machine operators to serious amputation hazards," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "Workers should not be asked to take such risks, and OSHA will not tolerate such disregard for worker safety."

Six willful, egregious citations were issued for inadequate machine guarding over the blades of slitter machines, and another willful citation was issued for lack of machine guarding over nip points and rotating parts on feed tables that was also cited in 2009, according to OSHA, which said Ball Aerosol has been placed in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA's news release said the company's headquarters are iin Broomfield, Colo., and employs about 12,000 workers. The Hubbard facility employs 57 workers. The new citations are posted at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Ball_Aerosol_690418_0410_13.PDF.

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