An Ohio vinyl flooring maker, Nox U.S. LLC, faces fines of $317,000 after an employee lost part of an arm and several fingers in an accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a Jan. 15 news release.
It's the second time in three years the company has faced sizable fines for similar incidents, OSHA said.
In the latest incident, OSHA said the employee suffered amputation of the lower right arm and four fingers after being caught in a lamination machine in the company's Fostoria, Ohio, factory.
It cited the company for lack of adequate machine guarding on rotating parts and shafts, improper training, lack of hazardous energy control and other violations.
"Machines that expose workers to injuries must be guarded," said Loren Sweatt, the principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers are required by law to provide workers with a workplace free of recognized hazards."
A person answering the phone at the Fostoria plant said the company would not have any comment.
The agency said Nox has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The company has 15 days to contest the citations.
The company faced substantial OSHA fines for similar incidents in 2017, after two workers were injured in separate incidents involving machine safety violations, OSHA said.
In those 2017 incidents, one employee needed surgery after his hand was crushed in a tile machine. In the second incident, less than two weeks later, another employee had two fingers partially amputated while working on a recycling machine.
In the latter case, a maintenance employee was cleaning a hopper on a PVC recycling system, but it was not locked-out and the employee put a hand into a lower valve. The valve closed and the employee's middle and index fingers were partially amputated, OSHA said in a detailed description posted online with the citation report.
OSHA proposed fines of $514,000 against Nox in those two 2017 incidents, citing the company for violating lockout/tag-out procedures, failure to train employees and exposing workers to fall hazards.
OSHA online records indicate the two fines were reduced to $270,000, although one of the cases was still listed as open.
"Employers must continuously monitor their facilities to ensure that workplace safety and health procedures are adequate and effective, and employees are trained on the use of such procedures," Kim Nelson, OSHA Toledo, Ohio, area office director, said in a statement.
The Fostoria plant is part of Seoul-based luxury vinyl tile maker Nox Corp. It opened the Fostoria plant in 2015, saying it was the first South Korean flooring company to establish a U.S. manufacturing plant.
The company said on its website that it expanded its U.S. production in 2019 with a second plant in Fostoria and is making "heavy investments" to set up factories in Europe and Southeast Asia.