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Lack of lockout, tag-out training to blame for amputation at Hostess facility, OSHA concludes

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A lack of lockout and tag-out training led to employee injury at a Hostess facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has concluded. For that and other alleged violations, the agency has proposed nearly $300,000 in penalties, it said Friday.

An employee’s fingertip was amputated while reassembling a pump at a Chicago facility, according to OSHA — “an injury the employer could have prevented by ensuring to shut down and lockout the equipment to prevent it from unexpectedly starting during maintenance,” the agency concluded after an investigation.

The investigation revealed the employer did not train workers on lockout and tag-out procedures, OSHA said. “Lockout” refers to the placement of a lock, for example, on equipment that prevents it from energizing, according to OSHA; “Tag-out” refers to the placement of a warning, such as a tag, on equipment to indicate that it may not be operated.

“OSHA frequently finds that amputations and other injuries occur when manufacturers fail to make sure machine safety procedures are followed and employees are trained properly,” said Chicago North OSHA Area Director Sukhvir Kaur in a statement. “Employers can spare their employees these kinds of painful injuries by complying with OSHA and industry-recognized safety standards.”

Hostess said in a statement that the safety and well-being of its employees is a top priority, and it takes safety concerns seriously. The employer said it does not comment on pending investigations but that it has received OSHA’s findings and is reviewing them.

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