OSHA recently cracked down on Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc. after two of its workers needed amputations resulting from a lack of safety guards, while a third sustained lacerations and burns. The company was fined $172,000 for seven serious safety violations stemming from the incidents, according to KSNT News.
Timeline of events
Schwan's lack of regard for OSHA-regulated safety procedures put its 1,300 Salina, Kansas, plant workers continuously in harm's way.
"Three women's lives were dramatically altered because their employer failed to protect them from hazardous operating machinery parts," Judy Freeman, OSHA area director in Wichita, Kansas, said in a statement. "Schwan's needs to protect their workers, and they need to do it now."
- Aug. 11, 2015: A 55-year-old's glove got stuck in a conveyor belt as she was cleaning pizza crumbs near the oven due to a lack of a safety guard. Her right hand had to be amputated as a result, and she lost 55 days of work, the Star Tribune reported.
- Sept. 30, 2015: A 49-year-old employee suffered a laceration, fractures and burns from clearing a traffic jam of pizza pans, according to KSNT. OSHA investigators determined that safety guards were not installed – had they been, the machine would have stopped working while the employee cleared the line of pans. She couldn't work for 46 days following the incident.
- Oct. 23, 2015: A 55-year-old worker was walking through a baking area when she reached up to regain her balance. She unintentionally got her fingers caught in an unguarded chain and sprocket and lost the middle finger of her left hand in the process, KSNT reported.
Schwan's released a statement about the incident, confirming that the company is committed to the safety of its employees and contractors, and it plans on changing procedures based on OSHA's recommendations, according to the Star Tribune.
Safety guards continue to go unchecked
Lack of machine guard was the ninth most-cited violation in the fiscal year of 2015, according to OSHA. In an era increasingly dominated by automated equipment, safety guards are essential to keeping employees safe from fast-moving chains and openings that are constantly shuttering.
It took three injuries over the course of three months for Schwan's negligence to be recognized, and it resulted in serious injuries, loss of limbs and a hefty fine for the company. OSHA requires machines that fit these descriptions be guarded:
- 1910.212(a)(1): Safety guards such as barrier guards or two-hand tripping devices are required when machinery exposes employees to hazards created by moving parts, sparks, the entry of the machine and flying pieces.
- 1910.212(a)(3)(ii): Machines with employees working at the point of operation, or where the work is being performed, should have safety guards attached.
- 1910.212(a)(3)(iii): Special tools must be provided for point of operations that force employees to put their hand in hazardous positions.
Ensuring that all openings, places where employees are working and chains are constantly guarded means that you're keeping your employees safe, as well as your company.