OSHA: Employee killed while duct tape held machine safety guards open at Kingman plastics plant

FabPro in Kingman, Kan.
FabPro in Kingman, Kan.(KWCH)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 1:38 PM CST
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KINGMAN, Kan. (KWCH) - Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have determined failure to make sure required safety procedures were followed contributed to the death of a worker at a Kingman plastics manufacturer.

The incident occurred on Aug. 4, 2022, at Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC. Investigators found that duct tape over the safety interlock prevented the machine from shutting down. The victim was trying to clear a jam when they were caught by the bagging machine while and pulled into the rotating bars.

OSHA issued citations to the company, which operates as FabPro Polymers, for two grouped willful violations, one repeat violation, and seven serious violations for the following conditions:

  • The absence of adequate machine guarding.
  • Not using lockout/tagout procedures to stop machines from operating during servicing and maintenance.
  • Not training workers on lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Exposing workers to slip and fall hazards from plastic particles and hydraulic fluid leaked on floors.

OSHA proposed penalties of $292,421. In 2019, the agency cited the company for similar violations at the facility which produces plastic fibers for use in cement and other construction products.

“Proper machine safety procedures and training could have prevented this worker from losing his life,” said OSHA Area Director Todd Underwood in Wichita, Kansas. “The manufacturing industry knows well that moving machine parts can be deadly, especially when proper guards are not used, and safety procedures are ignored.”

OSHA investigators found that the employer failed to make sure that lockout/tagout procedures were in place when unjamming machinery. The company also failed to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.

FactFinder 12 looked into FabPro’s history which includes other OSHA violations dating back to 2016. Twice in 2016 the company was cited for five violations OSHA classified as “serious” and fiend the company about $40,000.

In 2019, the company again was cited for five “serious” violations after a worker lost a finger in an at-work accident. This led to a fine of more than $47,000 from OSHA.