Latest Amputation Brings Additional Penalties for Wisconsin Manufacturer

The company returned a hydraulic press to operation without adding safety guarding after a 65-year-old employee's right middle finger tip was amputated as he lowered a press used to square parts for washing machines and dryers, according to OSHA.

OSHA has cited a commercial laundry equipment manufacturer after, for the second time in two months, a worker suffered an amputation injury because a machine lacked sufficient guarding, according to the agency.

Alliance Laundry Systems in Ripon, Wis., faces $124,709 in penalties and a willful safety violation as a result of the inspection. OSHA proposed them Dec. 6 after its investigation of a July 20, 2016, injury; the company returned a hydraulic press to operation without adding safety guarding after a 65-year-old employee's right middle finger tip was amputated as he lowered a press used to square parts for washing machines and dryers.

"Despite earlier machine-related injuries, Alliance Laundry Systems allowed workers to operate a machine without installing safety guards. We find these failures troubling," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton, Wis. "Ignoring guarding methods required by OSHA creates a culture where employees’ well-being is deemed unimportant, and workers are left to suffer the consequences."

In a previous investigation, OSHA learned that a grommet cutting machine severed a 26-year-old employee's right index finger on June 3, 2016, and the agency issued four serious violations in that case. And on Aug. 12, 2015, a 51-year-old employee's right hand was crushed by operating parts of a folding machine, causing the amputation of his right middle finger, OSHA reported.

Alliance Laundry Systems is a global manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment sold under the Speed Queen, UniMac, Primus, Huebsch, and Ipso brands to laundromats, multi-housing laundries, and on-premise laundries. It has more than 2,500 employees working in its manufacturing plants in Ripon; Pribor, Czech Republic; and Guangzhou, China, according to OSHA.

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