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Cincinnati, OH-based Knowlton Manufacturing Co. Inc. is facing $111,000 in fines for 10 safety violations, which include three willful and one repeat, after an employee’s arm ended up amputated Nov. 12, while he was performing maintenance on a mechanical power press that did not have its energy source properly secured, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said.

The willful violations include operating power presses without point-of-operation guards, failing to isolate the energy sources of power presses and failing to affix locks to energy isolation devices prior to performing maintenance on mechanical power presses. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

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The repeat violation is failing to conduct periodic and regular inspections of the power presses. A repeat violation exists when OSHA previously cited an employer for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were at the Cincinnati plant in July 2007.

Additionally, six serious violations involve failing to provide machine guarding on lathes and grinders, properly stamp dies with weight requirements, use safety blocks when making adjustments to dies in the presses and protect flexible cords from damage. 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.

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Due to the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA placed Knowlton Manufacturing in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

“Knowlton Manufacturing has demonstrated a lack of commitment to worker safety by failing to ensure energy sources were isolated and locked out prior to allowing maintenance work on power presses,” said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati.

OSHA has inspected the specialty parts manufacturer on three previous occasions since 2001, and received citations for violations relating to electrical hazards, general machine and power transmission guarding, power press guarding and the lockout/tagout of energy sources.

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