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Crown USA fined over $98k that contributed to a 37-year-old technicians death

A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found a Woodbury plastic and resin manufacturer could have prevented a 37-year-old employee from suffering fatal injuries by following required safety rules designed to keep machines from starting up during maintenance.

Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the maintenance technician at Crown USA Inc. was crushed inside an unlocked hooding palletizer while servicing the machine.

Jeffery Stawowy OSHA headshot

Jeffery Stawowy

“Employers must understand federal workplace safety regulations exist to help prevent tragedies like the one that occurred at Crown USA Inc.,” said OSHA Area Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West. “OSHA is available to answer employers’ questions and to help them understand their obligations. We can also provide employers resources for identifying hazards in their workplaces and developing safety programs.”

OSHA determined the company violated federal regulations by:

  • Failing to use adequate machine guarding to protect employees from struck-by and crushed-by hazards.
  • Failing to train employees on energy control procedures and maintain training records.
  • Failing to conduct inspections of energy control procedures.
  • Exposing workers to serious respiratory hazards by not protecting them from accumulations of airborne particles of powdered pigment and other types of dust throughout the facility.
  • Not providing personal protective equipment that prevents eye and skin irritation.
  • Failing to label containers properly according to hazardous communication standards.

Crown USA received eight serious and six other-than-serious violations. The company faces $98,699 in proposed OSHA penalties.

The agency provides information on lockout/tagout and other machine safety procedures to educate employers on how to protect workers from potential equipment hazards.

Founded in 1994, Crown USA Inc. supplies and manufactures roadway paint and pavement marking materials at its headquarters in Columbus.

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