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Manufacturer may pay $250,000 penalty for fatal accident

Safety requirements for manufacturing equipment may be vital to prevent accidents that seriously injure or even kill workers. In its investigation of one of these workplace accidents, the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety cited a ceramic materials manufacturer in Santa Ana for its alleged failure to guard machinery and provide proper training. A worker was killed in an accident involving this device in Sept. 2018.

This manufacturer utilizes industrial pug mills to produce and mix clay. The worker became caught in the unguarded mixing blades of a pug when he tried to find out why clay stopped going through the machine's extender. In its investigation of the worker's death, Cal/OSHA determined that his employer removed safety guards from the industrial mixer and did not train the worker before the accident.

Rotating blades on pug mills must be properly guarded because these devices can cause amputations and kill employees, according to Cal/OSHA. Employees must also be properly trained.

The agency determined that all four of the manufacturer's pug mills had unguarded openings which exposed its worker to moving parts. All mixers must have a cover that prevents workers' hands from entering the machine while it is in operation, according to state requirements.

Cal/OSHA is seeking penalties of $250,160 for five alleged violations. These include a willful-serious violation for the manufacturer's willful failure to guard this machine's openings and the points of its operation. Additionally, there were charges of serious violations for the hazards posed by the clay machine's unguarded cutting portion and the lack of a safety program to identify unsafe conditions, train workers on hazards and carry out corrective procedures.

An attorney can help workers and their families seek workers' compensation or other relief following a workplace accident. Evidence may be obtained and the right to this relief may be protected with legal representation.

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