A state agency Tuesday announced more than $300,000 in proposed penalties stemming from a workplace accident in which a temporary worker lost two fingers cleaning machinery at a food manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.
On Oct. 2, the unnamed employee was assigned by Priority Workforce Inc., a staffing agency, to JSL Foods Inc., a maker and distributer of noodles, pasta and baked goods at 1478 N. Indiana St. He was cleaning a dough rolling machine when his left hand was partially pulled into the moving rollers and two of his fingers were amputated, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, the division within the Department of Industrial Relations that helps protect California’s workers from health and safety hazards on the job.
“Cal/OSHA’s investigation found the machine had not been adequately guarded to prevent fingers from entering pinch points, or de-energized and locked out to prevent movement while the worker was cleaning it,” according to an agency statement. “Neither employer had trained the worker to follow lockout/tagout procedures before cleaning the equipment. Lockout involves isolating a machine from its power source and using a device to prevent machinery from being restarted, while a tagout device on a machine shows it is prohibited to operate.”
Cal/OSHA cited JSL Foods $276,435 in proposed penalties for seven violations, including one willful repeat serious violation and one willful repeat serious accident-related violation for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures. JSL Foods was cited twice in 2015 for the same violations, according to the agency.
Cal/OSHA cited Tustin-based Priority Workforce $29,250 in proposed penalties for three serious violations for failure to establish, implement and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program, failure to ensure employees were effectively trained, and failure to ensure the machinery was adequately guarded.
According to Cal/OSHA, a serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. Violations are classified as accident-related when the injury, illness or fatality is caused by the violation. A willful violation is cited when the employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.
Cal/OSHA offers an eTool to help employers understand lockout/tagout requirements and how to develop effective safety procedures. The agency’s Consultation Services Branch, which provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints should contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at (844) 522-6734. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices. The California Workers’ Information line at (866) 924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics.
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