A workplace safety investigation into a 65-year-old worker’s fatal crushing injuries at TimkenSteel in Canton found the company failed to install guards or provide proper hand tools to prevent workers from entanglement hazards while operating a bar straightener machine.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the worker was operating the machine on Dec. 27, 2021, at the steel mill’s Gambrinus facility, when he was caught on a piece of steel bar stock rotating at a high speed, resulting in fatal injuries. Inspectors also found the company provided employees with hooks to manipulate the spinning steel bar stock that were not long enough and required the operator’s hands to be present in the machine’s danger zone while guiding the steel bar stock into the straightener.
OSHA learned that Timken Steel previously modified similar machinery by adding a mechanical feed roll unit that eliminated the need for workers to touch the rotating bar stock but canceled a plan to modify the machine involved in the fatal incident.
The agency cited TimkenSteel for two willful and two serious violations and has proposed penalties of $315,952. OSHA has cited the company for safety failures three times in the past five years, and has now placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“A worker’s life might have been spared if TimkenSteel safeguarded dangerous machinery as required by law,” said OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “This company identified the safety issue that exposed workers using this machine to serious hazards but failed to make it safe.”
OSHA issued two serious violations for a lack of guarding on horizontal drive shafts and knuckles and walking-working surfaces that exposed workers to slip and fall hazards from oil coolant leaks and spills.
Founded in 1917 as the steel business of The Timken Roller Bearing Company, TimkenSteel is a leading producer of carbon steel, alloy and micro-alloy steel in specialty bars, mechanical tubing and other products used in the automotive, industrial and energy markets. The company employs 1,800 workers.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.