Monday, December 6, 2010

Dismemberment at a Car Wash!

At a car wash in mid-west a machine called an industrial centrifuge extractor was being used to dry towels. An employee had his arm pulled from his torso when he reached into the extractor while the internal drum was still spinning. As a result of an inspection conducted after the accident three citations were issued by the Secretary of State. One issue before the Commission alleged that there was a willful violation of an OSHA machine guarding standard. The Secretary imposed a penalty of $28,000 for the violation. So not only do we have a catastrophic injury to an employee but in addition to the insurance payout the wash incurred the following costs; loss of business, loss of a valued employee, cost to retrain a new employee, personnel cost to process the paperwork, loss of productivity due to moral and the $28,000 penalty. In this particular case safeguards were circumvented and proper training was absent.

Another case in point, an employee took a short cut through the tunnel. As he was exiting, the intake vent on the blower sucked the jacket he was carrying up in to the machinery tearing his arm from his shoulder. Although there was a guard it was inadequately designed to prevent this terrible incident.

In both of these cases the outcome was a successful limb reattachment, however, they would never have the full use. With the proper training both incidents could have been avoided altogether. It is imperative that all employees understand the dangers associated with car wash machinery. Repetitive training for both new and existing employees is an absolute if you are to maintain a safe environment.