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Lost fingertip in workplace accident leads to $80,500 penalties

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that machine hazards are the most frequent subject of citations. Over 200,000 employees across the country, include many in Missouri, suffer workers' injuries caused by dangerous machinery every year. OSHA says machines with inadequate safety mechanisms are regularly identified when a workplace accident is investigated.

An incident in which a worker lost a fingertip resulted in OSHA proposing $80,500 in penalties for an iron and steel forging company who committed 23 safety violations. The investigation followed a workplace accident in which a 28-year-old employee had to work on an unfamiliar machine without adequate safety mechanisms. It was reported that the incident occurred on the man's second day with the company, and no training or instructions on the operation of the machine had been provided.

According to OSHA, it is unacceptable for employers to disregard regulations related to training workers in the efficient use of procedures to control energy. Furthermore, all machines should be fitted with lockout devices to avoid amputation hazards by unanticipated activation of machines. The company was also cited for a variety of other safety violations in different departments of its operations.

In addition to disfigurement, the workplace accident caused his absence from work for two weeks. Many Missouri workers may find it difficult to afford such absences as it will adversely affect their incomes. However, a percentage of lost wages, along with medical expenses may be obtained by pursuing benefit claims from the workers' compensation insurance fund that focuses on providing financial benefits due to an on-the-job accident.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Worker suffers amputation from unsafe machinery", April 15, 2015

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