Ohio Pallet Maker Allowed 14-Year-Old to Operate Machine Illegally, Resulting in Loss of Hand
Middlefield, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) - A teenage worker's life was altered forever when his employer allowed him to operate machinery illegally and the 14-year-old lost his hand in the process.
Shady Knob Pallet Co. of Middlefield received citations from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration on July 7. The citations followed an inspection that found the young man suffered the injury when he touched the operating parts of a wood planer while manufacturing pallets on March 31.
Shady Knob violated the law by allowing an employee under 18 to work on the machine. Inspectors found the wood planer was one of several machines that lacked required safety guards to protect workers.
"Workers under age 18 are prohibited from operating power-driven woodworking machinery, such as the wood planer used here," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Without safety mechanisms, personal protective equipment and proper training, employees are at risk. Shady Knob Pallet Co. must know the laws and protect the safety and well-being of its workers."
OSHA issued 17 serious safety violations to the company. Proposed fines total $43,200. In addition to missing safety mechanisms, inspectors found Shady Knob failed to:
Train worksite staff to provide first aid.
Establish an exposure control plan for employees exposed to blood during first aid.
Teach employees about workplace chemical hazards.
Provide, and train workers on, the use of personal protective equipment.
Store flammable liquids correctly.
Use self-closing valves on gasoline drums used to power equipment.
Install electrical equipment properly.
The Wage and Hour Division is also investigating the company for probable violations of child labor laws.
Shady Knob Pallet Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Cleveland, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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