A previous post discussed some of the dangers associated with unguarded bandsaws. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration had issued several citations to a Colorado company after an investigation showed that the company had not been adhering to federal health and safety standards.
Now another Colorado company, Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel, has been cited by OSHA for violating safety standards and failing to prevent amputation accidents. The company uses a lot of machines that have rotating parts and without proper guarding workers can sustain serious crush injuries or even lose a limb.
According to the OSHA News Release, the company received 8 citations in total after the safety inspection. One was a repeat violation, meaning that Evraz had been previously cited for exposing their workers to amputation hazards yet still failed to take steps to prevent future accidents.
There were five serious violations as well. This is especially frightening since a serious violation is issued when there is a hazard that could cause death or serious physical harm. It also means that Evraz knew or should have known about these hazards but failed to implement safety procedures to prevent employee injuries.
An OSHA area director noted that the citations Evraz received were for hazards that are well known in the steel industry. So if the hazards are well known, why were employees not protected from them?
Being injured on-the-job can mean time off for a worker to recover and lots of medical bills for treatment. Especially if the worker loses a limb, a work injury can significantly alter the course of one's life. In that case, a worker may not be able to return to the same line of work he or she had been doing prior to the injury. Fortunately, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to workers' compensation benefits that can help a worker and his or her family financially.
Source: OSHA News Release online, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel in Pueblo, Colo., for safety violations following inspection of seamless tube mill," 03 March 2011