OSHA: Niles factory death was preventable

factory death at BRT Extrusions in Niles

NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced citations Wednesday against a Niles aluminum parts-maker for six serious safety violations in connection with a worker’s death on Aug. 6.

An extrusion press at BRT Extrusions in Niles fatally crushed Daniel Banks, 49, of Leavittsburg while he was reaching into the press to remove unprocessed aluminum parts. OSHA blamed the company for failing to ensure the machine’s power was fully off so that it would not turn on during maintenance.

OSHA proposed penalties of $28,000 for the company.

“This death was preventable, BRT Extrusion should have properly trained their workers on lockout/tagout and ensured the extrusion press had adequate guarding,” said Brigitte Frank, OSHA’s acting area director in Cleveland. “Failure to protect employees from dangerous machinery all too often leads to catastrophic injury or death. These violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA.”

The investigation found that the press had been placed in automatic mode by a supervisor while the employees working the press took a lunch break. The press was not “locked out” to prevent unintentional cycling of the operating parts. As the machine operator reached into the press, it began a new cycle. The operator was crushed to death.

As a result, OSHA cited BRT Extrusions for six serious violations. A lack of machine guarding was also cited. Machine guards ensure workers are not exposed to dangerous parts moving parts of machinery while working. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

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.

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