In May 2016, an employee of the Shield Packaging Co. Inc. was seriously injured when he was accidentally injected with a flammable propellant gas. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation into the incident revealed that the Dudley, MA company violated multiple safety protocols. In addition to failing to provide proper training, procedures were not followed to lock the machine against unexpected startups, like the one that injured the employee.
The staffing agencies that supplied over half of Shield Packaging’s workers were also involved in the settlement agreement. Southern Mass Staffing of Worcester, and ASI Staffing Group Corp. of Leominster agreed to pay $12,222 and $12,471 in penalties, respectively. The temp agencies also agreed to develop several safeguards against future incidents, including the implementation of health and safety measures at all host companies, and the hiring of an outside safety consultant.
Shield Packaging agreed to pay $150,000 in penalties, hire an engineer to oversee the design and installation of a safety lock on the machine that injected the employee, establish a health and safety program, hire a consultant to perform a safety inspection of the entire plant, and provide documentation to OSHA that all safety issues have been corrected.
“The Shield Packaging Co. Inc., ASI Staffing Group Corp., and Southern Mass Staffing are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers,” said Mary Hoye, OSHA’s Area Director. “These settlements will help ensure that a comprehensive safety program will be developed to protect all workers – permanent and temporary – from injuries and illnesses.” A MA work injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.
Lockout Tagout Procedures
When a machine unexpectedly starts, anyone working on or near the machine can be seriously injured or killed. Lockout tagout procedures are designed to protect against this type of accident. Failure to implement these procedures, as in the case above, can result in devastating consequences. Lockout tagout injuries are most common in the manufacturing industry. Those most at risk include:
- Steel workers
- Food processing workers
- Construction workers
- Chemical factory workers
- Lumber workers
When failure to implement lockout tagout procedures results in injuries, the injuries are often serious. Crushed or amputated limbs are common, and getting caught in a machine can be fatal. In fact, lockout tagout violations occur with shocking frequency; they are consistently one of OSHA’s top 10 violations every year. When employers put productivity before worker safety, they should be held accountable for their actions. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you were injured on the job.
Workplace Injury and Illness Statistics
Work-related accidents can occur in any occupation. The statistics below provide insight into the severity and frequency of this problem in the United States.
- More than 4.1 million people are injured on the job annually in the US.
- Of those, more than two million are injured severely enough that they miss work and require ongoing medical treatment.
- About 18 people die every day from a workplace injury in the US.
- Work-related illnesses and injuries cost about $155.5 billion annually.