OSHA cites metal fabricator for safety violations after employee death

By WEEK Reporter

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OSHA cites metal fabricator for safety violations after employee death

August 22, 2013 Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 1:11 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- OSHA announced Thursday that they have cited Hagel Metal Fabrication Inc. for 12 safety and health violations after a 23-year-old worker was killed on the job.

Hagel is being fined $317,000 and has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

OSHA said that Wesley Bernius was killed when he was fatally crushed on February 22 by an automated laser-cutting machine.

During the investigation, OSHA said they received additional complaints from employees, which prompted two more inspections.

OSHA said employees were exposed to amputation hazards while operating a power press brake because the guard had not been set up properly.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the company ensured adequate machine guarding, effective lockout-tagout procedures and worker training on hazards,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “The company willfully violated OSHA’s Machine Guarding Standard, compromising worker safety and well-being.”

Hagel has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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