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Worker suffers severe workplace injuries while cleaning equipment

There is no valid reason for employers to disregard the safety of their workers. Yet, some company owners continue to allow dangerous conditions to threaten employees, even after receiving citations for safety violations. One safety hazard that is prevalent in different industries is exposure to moving machine parts, and a Georgia air filter manufacturer recently received repeat citations after a worker suffered severe workplace injuries.

The citations follow an OSHA investigation into an incident in which a 56-year old worker's left wrist was fractured, and severe cuts were caused when she worked on cleaning a machine that was in operation. According to the accident report, she dropped a putty knife that she was using to remove glue from machine rails. Her arm got caught by moving parts of the machine as she reached to retrieve the putty knife.

According to prescribed safety regulations, workers who maintain or repair equipment must be protected from moving parts by devices to lock out energy supply during the performance of such tasks. Furthermore, mechanical equipment must have protective guards installed to prevent work accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries, including amputation. OSHA records show that the same company was cited for similar violations last year.

Although OSHA proposed to put this company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, workers in other Georgia companies may be exposed to similar hazards. Those who have suffered workplace injuries may request relief by filing claims for benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. Medical expenses and lost income are typically covered, and additional relief may be granted for disabilities resulting from workplace accidents.

Source: Buckhead Ga. Patch, "Worker at Atlanta Air Filter Plant Injured on the Job; Employer Cited by OSHA", Justin Ove, April 22, 2015

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