Koswire Inc. is facing a fine of $145,530 for 19 safety and health violations, including one willful, following the death of a worker who became caught in moving wire and was pulled into rotating rolls at the company’s facility in Flowery Branch, GA, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office kicked off an inspection March 3 in response to the fatality. The willful violation is failing to provide machine guarding to protect operators and other workers from hazards created by ingoing pinch points and rotating parts on equipment throughout the plant. 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.
South Korea-based Koswire draws steel wire used for the production of springs in various products such as pens and spray cans.
Thirteen serious safety and health violations involve failing to develop specific written procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy for machines with more than one energy source, ensure that authorized employees receive training to recognize hazardous energy sources, provide an emergency eyewash station at the degreasing tank, perform sling inspections, remove slings that are damaged and worn, ensure employees use chemical splash goggles when handling corrosive chemicals, and properly label drums and tanks containing corrosive materials. Additionally, OSHA identified fall hazards and found the company did not provide equipment guarding on pulleys or horizontal and vertical belts. 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.
Five other-than-serious safety and health violations include failing to perform monthly inspections of crane hooks and ensure that all hooks had been tested, provide covers on junction boxes, certify workplace personal protective equipment, develop a written respiratory protection program for employees required to wear respirators and provide employees with Appendix D information for the voluntary use of disposable dust masks. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
“This incident was preventable. Employers cannot allow employees to be exposed to unguarded equipment or other workplace hazards,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “It is imperative that management find and eliminate hazards before another worker is killed or injured.”
Due to the willful violation and the nature of the hazards, OSHA placed Koswire Inc. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.