“Preventable” finger amputation reveals workplace hazards
An Alabama newspaper publishing company is facing $145,858 in penalties after an OSHA investigation into an employee injury determined that the company has been exposing its workers to amputation hazards.
The incident at BH Media’s Opelika, Alabama facility occurred when an employee suffered a finger amputation when their hand was caught in a stacking machine that unintentionally started while being serviced.
OSHA cited the company for failing to effectively guard machinery, and develop and implement written procedures to prevent unintentional start-up during service or maintenance. The agency conducted the inspection in conjunction with the National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
BH Media owns 30 daily newspapers and 50 weekly publications, along with their digital sites.
“Employers’ failure to instruct workers on how to control hazardous energy when they are servicing machines can lead to this type of preventable injury,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez. “Using proper lockout/tagout energy control procedures can protect workers from potential amputations.”
OSHA’s Machine Guarding eTool provides information on how to recognize and control common amputation hazards associated with operating certain types of machines.