A Wagner's LLC employee didn't expect to spend his 25th birthday in the hospital, but that’s what happened on May 31, 2014. The worker’s hand and arm were severely injured after becoming caught in a moving piece of machinery while he was clearing birdseed from an industrial mixing tank.
He had been on the job for two months.
After an inspection following the incident, OSHA cited the company for three willful, one repeat and four serious violations. OSHA proposed penalties of $241,680 for exposing workers to dangerous machine parts at the wild bird food manufacturer. As a result, Wagner's was placed in OSHA'sSevere Violator Enforcement Program.
A breakdown in management
"Failure to protect employees from dangerous machinery often leads to catastrophic injury or death. While this worker will see his 26th birthday, he will forever carry the memory and scars from this injury," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "OSHA's investigation found a breakdown in management, which led to this employee's injury. That's unacceptable. Workers should never be at risk because safety procedures slow production."
The investigation found that Wagner's failed to lockout energy sources to protect the worker from contact with rotating machine parts and the machine turning on while he cleaned it. The company also failed to conduct periodic inspections of written protocols related to locking out machines and did not train workers on these procedures. These violations at manufacturing plants are among the most frequently cited by OSHA and put workers at risk for amputation and other injuries. Wagner's was cited for three willful violations related to these hazards.
OSHA also found that the company failed to provide machine guarding on another piece of equipment not involved in the incident. Wagner's was previously cited for this violation at its facility in Flagler, Colorado, in 2011. In addition, four serious safety violations were cited because the company did not provide eye protection; used damaged electrical cords; failed to perform fire extinguisher education; and had unmarked exits. To view the citations, visit http://www.dol.gov/osha/pdf/Wagners-LLC.pdf
Founded in 1894, Wagner's LLC is based in Jericho, New York. The company employs about 120 workers nationwide with 45 in Milford. The company also operates facilities in North Dakota and Colorado.