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NY machine shop in trouble with OSHA for failing to correct hazards after employee lost 5 fingers

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A metal fabrication shop on Long Island Is facing hefty penalties for alleged serious, repeat and uncorrected safety hazards, say workplace safety regulators.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the agency has cited Simtek Inc., of Amityville, NY, for alleged serious and repeat violations of workplace safety standards, and for failing to correct hazardous conditions for which the agency cited the company in 2011 after a worker suffered an amputation injury on the job.

In June 2011, a Simtek employee lost five fingers when his hand was entrapped in an operating roller machine. OSHA cited Simtek after the incident for 20 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards, including unguarded moving machine parts and missing or incomplete hazardous energy control procedures.

When inspectors from OSHA's Long Island office visited Simtek in January 2012 for a follow-up inspection, they found that Simtek had failed to fix eight of the safety violations, including:

  • Failing to develop and implement hazardous energy control procedures to lock out the power source and prevent unintended start up of machines during maintenance.
  • Failing to provide training and tools to workers performing maintenance on the machines.
  • Failing to correct electrical hazards, such as misused electrical equipment, uncovered electrical cabinets, unused electrical openings and dangerous spliced electrical cords.

OSHA issued notices to Simtek for failing to abate the eight alleged violations. The notices carry fines totaling $109,725.

“This employer was required to correct all hazards cited during our last inspection and had ample opportunity to do so, yet almost half of the violations were never corrected while others were allowed to recur,” said Anthony Ciuffo, director of OSHA's Long Island Area Office, which is located in Westbury. “The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the severity of these hazards – which expose workers to potential amputation and crushing injuries, and electrocution – as well as this employer's unacceptable failure to effectively correct them.”

OSHA also issued citations and proposed penalties of $26,400 for alleged repeat violations involving a locked exit door, misused electrical equipment and unprotected power cords.

The company also received one citation for an alleged serious violation after inspectors found circuit breakers blocked by a gas tank and welding machine.

The company has fifteen days after receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, contest the citations or meet with OSHA’s area director.

OSHA placed Simtek in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The agency will conduct mandatory follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with safety regulations.