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Workplace injuries: Untrained new worker loses 4 fingers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration say some of the safety violations that are most often cited nationwide, including in California, are due to the failure to install safety guards to protect workers from moving machine parts and implementing procedures to disable machines during maintenance. OSHA recently cited a company in another state for such violations. Because of the possibility that these issues could cause workplace injuries, the agency previously cited the same facility for similar violations in 2010 and 2014 and placed the company in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Yet another investigation followed an incident on March 2 in which a worker suffered amputation injuries. It was reported that it was the 21-year-old employee's first day on the job at the company, manufactures molded plastic products. Within his first few hours working, he tried to clear a blockage in the molding machine. There was no protection from moving machine parts, and his hand was severely burned. The injuries resulted in the amputation of four fingers on his right hand.

In addition to the company's failure to install protective guards, OSHA investigators determined that the worker was not sufficiently trained in the operation and safety procedures for the machine. The company was cited for willful, repeated and serious violations. It will also be subjected to random OSHA inspections in the future.

The employer's disregard of safety regulations changed this young worker's life forever and will likely affect his ability to earn income. California workers who have suffered workplace injuries may be able to obtain some level of financial relief by filing benefit claims with the workers' compensation insurance fund. Compensation typically includes medical expenses and lost income coverage, and when injuries cause disabilities, additional compensation may be awarded.

Source: ehstoday.com, "Employee Loses Four Fingers on First Day", Ginger Christ, Aug. 18, 2015

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