The first day on the job for a new employee ended tragically when the 21-year-old man suffered severe burns and the loss of four fingers on his right hand as he tried to clear a jam in a plastic molding machine. The man had been working for a few hours when the incident occurred at an Elyria manufacturer.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited his employer, Quality Blow Molding Inc., for two willful, two repeated and one other-than-serious violation on Aug. 12. OSHA inspectors found the company failed to train the employee about safety requirements that protect workers from machine hazards. Quality Blow Molding also failed to report the injury to the agency, as required.
The company, which manufactures bottles, golf tees and other plastic items, faces proposed penalties of $171,270 and was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program following the investigation of the March 2 injury. The agency cited Quality Blow Molding for similar hazards in 2010 and 2014 at the same facility.
"A preventable and unforgivable injury has changed this young man's life," said Kimberly Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "For the second time in two years, Quality Blow Molding intentionally and willfully disregarded OSHA standards and requirements for machine safety."
OSHA inspectors found the company also failed to protect workers from operating machine parts because it had not implemented procedures to prevent machines from starting up during service and maintenance. In addition, the company did not train workers on safety procedures or install machine guards on horizontal lathes. These violations are among OSHA's most frequently cited, and can result in death or permanent disability.