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3 workers injured at work due to lack of lockout procedures

Many workplace accidents in Colorado occur because safety violations related to lockout/tagout procedures are disregarded. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration into an accident in which three employees were seriously injured at work was recently completed. The company was cited for 12 safety violations, one of which was determined to be willful.

The incident that gave rise to the investigation took place in July 2014 on the premises of a recycling facility in another state that processes demolition and construction material. The workers were reportedly inside a trommel when they were injured. A trommel is a cylindrical screening device, and the workers were cleaning screens within the confined space. The machine had apparently not been locked out, and when another employee -- who was unaware of the presence of the workers in the trommel -- started the machine, there was nothing to prevent activation.

OSHA found that although the company owner was aware of the life-threatening dangers of unintended startups, the business lacked written procedures for lockout/tagout protocols. Furthermore, there was no confined space management program in place, nor were workers trained in identifying such hazards. The agency reported that the incident which caused serious injuries to these three workers was preventable.

When workers in Colorado have been injured at work, they may suffer financial setbacks when medical bills start to arrive and wages are lost. Fortunately, injured workers are entitled to pursue benefits claims through the state's workers' compensation insurance system. Along with compensation for medical expenses, the insurance program may also cover lost wages for workers whose injuries cause absences from work.

Source:, "OSHA Fines $199K for Workers Hurt in Demo Debris Recycling Device", Jan. 14, 2016

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