Online Staff Report
BELVIDERE, Illinois — Jake Frisella, a 21-year-old machine operator, was fatally crushed at Ventra Belvidere LLC while reaching into a machine to align parts made for Chrysler vehicles. Following an investigation into the incident on June 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the Belvidere facility for one willful and four serious safety violations for exposing workers to dangerous machinery and other hazards.
“This tragic death was preventable if Ventra Belvidere ensured proper machine guarding,” said Jacob Scott, OSHA’s area director in Aurora, Illinois. “Failure to protect employees from dangerous machinery often leads to catastrophic injury or death. These violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA.”
The investigation found that the sensing device to detect if someone was in the machine was improperly set, which allowed the device to cycle while the employee reached into the machine. OSHA issued a willful violation for failure to guard a sequencing machine properly. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA cited Ventra Belvidere for four serious violations for failure to guard other machines properly, conduct periodic evaluations of lockout/tagout procedures, and to train workers on the procedures. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
OSHA proposed penalties of $93,400 for the company, which employs about 106 workers.
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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Aurora Area Office at (630) 896-8700.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Posted Dec. 11, 2014