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Double amputation leads to $360,000 in penalties

An automotive supplier in Michigan faces more than $360,000 in proposed fines after a piece of machinery amputated a worker's hands and arms midway to her elbows, reports the Associated Press.

The state Department of Labor and Economic Growth announced the fines against Maverick Metal Stamping, Inc. for numerous worker safety violations linked to the 2003 accident.

State officials said a 22-year-old employee working as an assembler was assigned to operate a 100-ton metal stamping press for which she was not sufficiently trained. As she leaned into the machine to remove a set of stampings the machine activated, amputating her hands and forearms.

Co-workers needed more than 15 minutes to free her, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

"A young Michigan worker will never have the use of her hands because this company callously ignored the hazards associated with power press operations," said David Hollister, director of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth.

Maverick initially received citations totaling $159,500. The company had one penalty reduced on appeal, then negotiated a settlement further reducing the sanctions after it pledged to comply with all state regulations, according to AP.

But during a follow-up investigation in June, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found several safety issues had not been resolved and also found more violations. The state revoked the settlement agreement, added another $214,550 in penalties and $7,200 for new violations — all of it adding up to $363,750 in fines.

The Record-Eagle said the plant operations manager declined to discuss the penalties.

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