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The Scoop

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2 workers injured at Ohio manufacturing plant

The following statement was issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor:

HICKSVILLE, Ohio—FWT LLC has been cited for one repeat and one serious safety violation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after two employees were injured in separate incidents at the company’s Hicksville facility, which manufactures telecommunication towers. OSHA has proposed penalties of $45,500 for exposing the workers to amputation hazards.

The injured employees were at the facility and operated cranes that loaded telecommunication poles into squaring presses, which flatten part of the poles, when the injuries occurred. On Feb. 25, 2014, an employee’s hands were crushed by machinery, which resulted in lost work time. On March 17, a second employee was pinned between a telecommunication pole and the frame of the squaring press.

“The workers’ injuries were serious and preventable had basic machine guards been provided on the equipment they were expected to use daily,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Lack of machine guarding is among the most frequently cited OSHA violations. FWT has a responsibility to protect its employees from known dangers in its facilities.”

FWT was issued a repeat violation for failing to provide adequate protection on the squaring press, which exposed workers to amputation hazards. The company was cited for a similar violation at the Hicksville facility in 2013. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

One serious violation was issued for lack of guarding on the squaring press point of operation. The squaring press flattens the knuckles on the end of telecommunication tower poles, and without proper guarding, it can cause catastrophic injury. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

FWT has headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, and employs about 750 workers corporatewide. There are 170 workers at the Hicksville facility. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Toledo, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542 or the toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov

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