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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2004

OSHA fines Putnam County stamping plant $29,500; firm cited in worker's death

BY KELLY LECKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Monica Boecker, who died in an industrial accident Oct. 23, is shown here with her son Ean. Monica Boecker, who died in an industrial accident Oct. 23, is shown here with her son Ean.
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A Putnam County plant where a pregnant woman was crushed last year did not have proper procedures to cut off power to the machine that killed her, according to violations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Progressive Stamping, Inc., was cited for several serious violations and fined $29,500 in connection with an investigation into the Oct. 23 accident that killed Monica Boecker.

Ms. Boecker, who was 26 weeks pregnant at the time, died shortly after she was caught in a machine at the plant. Her baby girl, whom her family named Tori, was delivered the same day. She died a week later.

The company in Ottoville was fined $7,000 for each of four serious violations and $1,500 for another violation OSHA investigators labeled serious. The maximum fine for a serious violation is $7,000, according to Jule Jones, director of OSHA's Toledo office.

"Money will not bring her back,'' said Ms. Boecker's father, Marvin. "I just hope their safety will be better in the future.''

Most of the citations concern shutting off the power source to a machine when an employee is doing certain jobs inside the machine.

"Anytime an employee is in the

danger zone, depending on their activity,'' the energy source must be shut off and residual energy drained, Ms. Jones said.

In its citations, OSHA found:

● The company did not provide adequate training in the safe application, use, and removal of energy control devices.

● Energy isolating devices needed to control energy to the machines were not located and operated in a manner that isolated the machine from the energy source.

● Lockout or tagout devices were not affixed to each energy isolating device by authorized employees. These devices allow the employees to shut down the machine so nobody can restart it while the employee is inside.

● Methods were not provided to protect employees from machine parts. This could involve putting barriers around rotating or other potentially hazardous parts, or making sure the employee does not go near them, Ms. Jones said.

The company was also fined $1,500 for not keeping the floors around the power presses in good condition.

Ms. Boecker was working inside a metal stamping press when another employee, not aware she was inside, turned on the machine.

Investigators have said that the person inside the machine should be the only one who has control of the power to the machine.

Ms. Boecker's boss tried to resuscitate her before paramedics arrived. Ms. Boecker died seven hours after the accident.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Contact Kelly Lecker at:

klecker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6168.



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