A partial hand amputation is not the best way to start your day. And being cited by OSHA for safety violations isn’t much better. Precision Custom Coatings LLC, of Totowa, New Jersey, has had to deal with both situations over the past month and will be required to pay $185,400 to OSHA for safety violations. These violations range from the lack of danger tags to the lack of proper guards on machinery.
OSHA’s investigation began back in September of 2013. On the day in question, police responded to, “a report of a machine operator’s hand being crushed while moving materials at Precision Custom Coatings’ fabric manufacturing facility,” according to Andrew Wyrich (staff writer at NorthJersey.com). That description makes it seem as though the event was purely accidental but further investigation by OSHA refutes that claim.
Paul Kobylarz, a resident of Garfield and the employee whose hand was crushed, attempted to move some polyester that had been caught through two rollers on the company’s production machine. A nice gesture, no doubt, but one that would inevitably cost Mr. Kobylarz the use of his hand (at least for a short while). Just as he thought he was done pushing the fabric through the roller, his hand slipped and was pulled through the production machine. With his hand and arm caught emergency crews raced to save Kobylarz and provided him with oxygen.
While investigating the Kobylarz accident OSHA stumbled upon yet another incident that occurred early in 2014. On January 16th Sentilian Canko had been cleaning one of the machines when his left hand was caught inside, effectively mangling four of his fingers. In an industry that requires the dexterous use of both hands these men will either have to retrain themselves or find another occupation (which can be financially catastrophic).
For their lack of respect for employee safety, OSHA will fine Precision Custom Coatings $70,000 for not using danger tags and proper guards and $38,500 for not protecting operators properly with machine guards. Unfortunately, this is not the first time OSHA has cited the company as the last violation occurred less than three years ago in December of 2011. If you are working with, or around, dangerous equipment please remember to follow proper safety precautions and as always stay safe.