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Fabricator facing $317,000 penalty after worker death

Keywords: Tags  Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, Hagel Metal Fabrication, Tom Bielema, fatality, citations

CHICAGO — Hagel Metal Fabrication Inc. has been cited for 12 alleged safety and health violations after a worker was killed by an automated laser-cutting machine.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties totaling $317,000. The East Peoria, Ill., company has two weeks to gain compliance, meet with OSHA or contest the findings.

The worker’s death was preventable had Hagel ensured adequate machine guarding, effective lockout-tagout procedures and worker training on hazards, said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s Peoria-area director.

OSHA said that its investigation of the Feb. 22 accident found that employees were exposed to amputation hazards while operating a power press brake because the guard had not been set up properly, and workers made formal complaints during the investigation, prompting two additional inspections.

OSHA cited Hagel for allegedly bypassing machine safeguards on two laser-cutting machines and failing to lock out sources of hazardous machine energy, designed to prevent employees from being in areas of the machine where they could be struck and crushed by moving parts.

Additional alleged violations included unguarded open-sided floors and platforms.

Hagel did not return a call seeking comment.

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