Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Were Points Protected?

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Were Points Protected?

Article excerpt

Were points protected?

Following up on an earlier inspection in response to an employee complaint, an OSHA compliance officer inspected Sorg Paper Co.'s paper plant in Middletown, Ohio, in 1986.

The company was issued a repeat citation for an alleged violation of 29 CFR 1910.261(k)(26)(i), for failure to guard the nip points on a drum winder and rewinder.

A winder is a spool-like device that receives paper from the paper machine. It is equipped with slitter knives that cut the paper into various lengths. A movable guard of heavy metal mesh had been installed on the front end of the winder at the Sorg plant, but large openings on the other side of the guard exposed a nip point located only 14 inches from the edge of the guard.

The company was also issued citations for alleged violation of 29 CFR 1910.261(k)(12), for failure to guard dryer gears, and 29 CFR1910.261(k)(13), for failure to guard broke holes, which are openings designed to catch waste paper to be recycled.

OSHA proposed $9,900 in penalties.

Sorg contested the citations, and the case came before Administrative Law Judge Joe Sparks.

At a hearing, OSHA claimed that, although the nip point guard presently used at the Sorg plant was different from an inadequate guard for which the company was cited in 1983, the new guard did not correct the nip point hazard either. OSHA maintained that contact with the nip point could lead to possible amputation of hands or arms. OSHA said that the nip point should be sufficiently guarded to prevent any employee contact whether accidental or deliberate.

Sorg argued that the OSHA compliance officer hadn't seen any employees place any part of their bodies behind the guard. Moreover, the company contended, the standard in question only requires prevention of accidental contact with nip points.

Upon review of the standard, Judge Sparks concluded that barriers are required to prevent contact with nip points of all drum winders and rewinders. He determined the openings in the guard used by Sorg prevented it from meeting the requirements of the standard, thus violating 29 CFR 1910.261(k)(26)(i).

As indicated earlier, Sorg Paper had been cited for violation of the same standard following an inspection in 1983. …

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