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September 7, 2016

OSHA’s Fatality Investigation Points to Bypassed Machine Guards

Latest posts by Atlantic Research Team (see all)

As he hand-polished a 40-inch long metal cylinder, a 36-year-old lathe operator at the Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. in Cedarsburg, Wisc., became entangled in the machine’s operating spindle and suffered injuries that led to his death two days later. He had been employed at the company for two years.

During the investigation following the worker’s death on March 17, OSHA investigators found that Carlson Tool & Manufacturing allegedly allowed the computer numerical controlled lathe to operate with its safety interlocks bypassed. The interlocks prevent workers from coming in contact with moving machine parts.

“All too often, OSHA finds employers are complacent with machine safety features and bypass them to speed production,” said Christine Zortman, area director of OSHA’s Milwaukee office. “This worker’s tragic death was preventable. Carlson Tool & Manufacturing must re-evaluate its overall safety and health management system, including their machine safety programs and procedures to ensure they are effective.”

OSHA’s inspection found the lathe’s door that provided guarding was open, exposing the worker to the machines rotating parts. Unrelated to the incident, agency inspectors found that the company also failed to follow proper procedures to fully power down equipment to prevent sudden movement or starts.

OSHA cited the company for one alleged willful and one alleged serious violation of machine safety standards and has proposed penalties of $124,709.

Based in Cedarburg, Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with Zortman or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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