The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) has affirmed seven citations against Matsu Alabama following an incident at its Huntsville facility that left a worker permanently disabled. Last year, Matsu Alabama, a division of Matcor Automotive, was originally issued eight safety citations by OSHA, with $75,000 in proposed penalties. This came after a temporary employee’s right lower arm and three fingers on his left hand were amputated by a mechanical power press in Huntsville.
On April 3, 2013, OSHA initiated the inspection in response to a complaint of an employee suffering amputations while loading parts into a mechanical power press. The company, which was using an on-site temporary staffing service known as Surge Staffing at the time of the accident, was cited for the following violations:
• One “repeat violation” for failure to guard rotating chucks and spindles on milling and drilling machines.
There were also six violations designated as “serious” by OSHA, which include failing to:
• Guard the point of operation on a mechanical power press, which led to the amputation.
• Provide safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
• Conduct power press inspections to ensure safety devices and auxiliary equipment were effective and operating properly.
• Provide training and instruction on safely operating the mechanical power press.
• Reduce compressed air for cleaning to less than 30 pounds per square inch.
• Prevent press operators from changing the press mode without supervision.
There was one “other-than-serious citation” issued by OSHA and it was for failing to:
• Record an amputation incident and the resulting lost time on the OSHA 300 log within seven days. Matsu contested OSHA’s citations and an OSHRC hearing was scheduled.
OSHA said Review Commission Judge John Gatto ordered that the serious citation for “failure to prevent press operators from changing the press mode without supervision” be deleted on Sept. 29. The other seven citations remain in effect. Judge Gatto also increased the repeat violation to $70,000, which is the maximum amount. The total penalties against Matsu Alabama equal $103,000, according to OSHA. Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA regional administrator in Atlanta, said the injured employee, whose name has not been released, was assigned to janitorial duties and had no experience with a mechanical power press when the incident occurred.
Matcor Automotive is a manufacturer and supplier of auto parts for companies like General Motors, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and Nissan. It will be most interesting to see how this matter winds up.