US Department of Labor investigation into Temple worker’s partial arm amputation finds employer again ignored machine safety procedures
TEMPLE, TX – A federal workplace safety investigation into how an employee suffered serious injuries in January 2022 at a Temple manufacturing facility operated by Carpenter Co. – one of the nation’s largest cushion manufacturers – found the company had not installed adequate machine guards or locking devices on a hot laminating machine to protect workers from unsafe contact with the machine’s operating parts.
The worker was trying to clear debris in a hot laminating machine when their right forearm became caught. The severe nature of the injuries led to a partial amputation of the forearm.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation of the incident at the facility operated by E.R. Carpenter LP, a subsidiary of the Richmond, Virginia-based Carpenter Co., led the agency to issue citations for one willful, one repeat and three serious violations.
The company faces $227,907 in proposed penalties.
OSHA issued Carpenter Co. a citation for similar energy control procedure violations after an inspection at its Verona, Mississippi, facility that became a final order on Jan 28, 2020.
“This worker’s life was forever altered because his employer ignored known safety hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, Texas. “Industrial machinery is unforgiving and can cause sudden, severe and disabling injuries or worse when energy control procedures and guards are bypassed or inadequate.”
In addition to lacking machine guards and locking devices on the laminating machine, OSHA determined the company did not conduct periodic inspections of their machine safety procedures, apply a personal lock to a group lockout procedure to verify energy sources were isolated, and exposed workers to falls into dangerous equipment.
“Every employer is legally obligated to provide their workers with a safe and healthful workplace,” Perkins added. “The U.S. Department of Labor will hold those who do not accountable as the law permits.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2018, 58 percent of amputations involved some type of machinery.
Carpenter Co. manufactures bedding and carpet cushion products in Temple, one of 12 locations in the U.S. and two in Canada. The company also has locations in Houston and Taylor.
The company 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.
Learn about controlling hazardous energy and proper machine guarding.