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Companies fined after temp worker’s fingers amputated

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Tuesday said it has issued more than $300,000 in serious citation fines to two employers after a temporary worker lost two fingers cleaning machinery at a Los Angeles food manufacturing facility.

On Oct. 2, 2018, the employee for staffing agency Priority Workforce Inc. was assigned to JSL Foods Inc., a maker and distributer of pasta and baked goods, and in the midst of cleaning a dough-rolling machine his left hand was partially pulled into the moving rollers and two of his fingers were amputated, Cal/OSHA said in a statement.

Cal/OSHA’s subsequent investigation found the machine had not been adequately guarded to prevent fingers from entering pinch points, nor deenergized and locked out to prevent movement while the worker was cleaning it. Neither employer had trained the worker to follow lockout/tagout procedures before cleaning the equipment. Lockout involves isolating a machine from its power source and using a device to prevent machinery from being restarted, while a tagout device on a machine shows it is prohibited to operate, according to a statement.

“Lockout/tagout procedures are required to protect employees who maintain powered equipment with moveable parts,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in the statement.

Cal/OSHA cited JSL Foods for seven violations, including one willful repeat serious violation and one willful repeat serious accident-related violation for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures, and proposed $276,435 in penalties. JSL Foods was cited twice in 2015 for the same violations, according to the statement.

Cal/OSHA also cited Tustin, California-based Priority Workforce $29,250 in proposed penalties for three serious violations for failure to establish, implement and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program, failure to ensure employees were effectively trained and failure to ensure the machinery was adequately guarded, according to the statement.

Neither company could immediately be reached for comment.