Following an incident at a Hastings, Nebraska, meatpacking facility when a worker was reportedly killed after being pulled into an improperly guarded machine, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on July 16 that it issued hazard citations to plant operator Hastings Acquisition LLC for alleged safety problems.
The safety agency conducted an on-site investigation following the January 18 accident, and concluded that the operating firm committed two willful violations. These problems involved the failure to provide machine guarding to prevent workers from being pulled inside and institute stricter lock-out/tag-out procedures for maintenance procedures.
OSHA inspectors, according to the agency's press release, discovered nine serious issues during the visit. Among them was an overall lack of training for workers on hazard protection, energy consumption and industrial truck usage policies. OSHA also discovered inappropriate uses of power cords, numerous inspection failures relating to technology and insufficient protective clothing for employees.
"It is unthinkable that an employer would allow employees to work in and around dangerous equipment that lacks machine guarding," Charles Adkins, OSHA's Kansas City area director, said in a statement. "All employers must take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
Companies that receive OSHA citations have 15 business days to respond to the allegations. They can choose to fix the problems identified, appeal them before an independent regulatory board or request a meeting with the OSHA office responsible for the investigation.
In order to keep their employees safe, industrial firms need to ensure that occupational health practices are being upheld. One way to keep workers informed is through the use of safety signs, which can help identify potential dangers in the jobsite.
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