PARIS, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – A Paris manufacturer is facing more than $85,000 in penalties after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited it for machine safety violations.
According to an OSHA press release, a master maintenance technician at North American Lighting suffered severe facial burns Nov. 14 when “when pressurized material in a plastic molding machine exploded.”
An investigation into the incident determined the company “lacked energy control procedures to protect workers during maintenance work, a process known as lockout/tagout.” OSHA also found that the company failed to review and test its lockout/tagout procedures annually for effectiveness, and ensure employees used eye and face protection.
“Employers must ensure that machines and equipment are disabled before workers perform service and maintenance to prevent unexpected startup or release of hazardous energy and materials,” said OSHA Area Director Barry Salerno in Peoria, Illinois. “If North American Lighting took the time to implement and test the safety procedures, this serious injury could have been prevented.”
OSHA cited NAL for one repeat violation and three serious violations of machine safety standards and requirements for personal protective equipment. According to the press release, the agency cited NAL for similar violations in 2019 at the same facility.
NAL told MyWabashValley.com the company is “cooperating with OSHA and will meet with them regarding the citations administered.”
“This was a serious accident, but to clarify there was no explosion at the Paris facility,” NAL said in a written statement. “A Team Member removed standard safety glasses to look inside the hopper area of a molding machine not realizing pressure had built up and created a blowback of melted plastic. The Team Member was not aware others had not followed proper machine protocol which created the pressure. An ambulance arrived on the scene to transport the Team Member to the hospital. NAL did receive a lockout/tagout violation on a different piece of equipment in the assembly department back in 2019. This recent incident was very different than the accident in 2019, and there are no other repeat violations other than lockout/tagout. Thankfully, the Team Member has returned to work, and NAL has implemented new counter measures including specific training to prevent a similar incident in the future. NAL is committed to the health and safety of our Team Members.”
A subsidiary of the Koito Group of Tokyo, North American Lighting Inc. manufactures automotive lighting systems at eight facilities nationwide.