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DOL Again Cites Green Bay Cleaning Products Manufacturer after Worker Suffers Amputation

The company faces more than $194,000 in proposed penalties.

Dol
iStock.com/The Bold Bureau

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A federal investigation into how a Tufco LP employee’s fingertip was amputated in August 2023 determined that the Green Bay household cleaning products manufacturer violated federal regulations for the control of hazardous energy during service and maintenance tasks and failed to report the amputation injury, as required.

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration at Tufco LP found an employee’s fingertip was severed while clearing a pump’s outfeed on Aug. 18, 2023. The employee was part of an overnight crew that was running and maintaining melt tanks used to create scented laundry beads. Safety investigators learned the product lines were not locked out or shut down, exposing the worker to the pumps’ point of operation.

OSHA inspectors determined Tufco LP lacked written lockout/tagout procedures that would have prevented employees from contact with moving machine parts and failed to retrain employees on such procedures when they were re-assigned to a new production area. OSHA also noted a lack of machine guarding and that the plant failed to develop and implement a respiratory protection program. The agency cited the company for exposing workers to similar machine hazards in 2019 and 2021. 

The company committed one repeat, four serious and two other-than-serious violations and faces $194,518 in proposed penalties. 

“Tufco LP expanded their capabilities with new products and machines but failed to assess and mitigate potential hazards prior to allowing employees to run the new product lines,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Each year, hundreds of workers suffer injuries because their employers expose them to machine operating parts and fail to train them in safety procedures. Employers should make the health and safety of workers a core value in their workplaces.”

OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.

Tufco LP makes household cleaning and laundry products such as sanitation wipes, laundry scent beads and dryer sheets.

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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