Temple, TX—A federal investigation of an employee injury at MooreCo, a Temple, TX furniture manufacturer, is likely to result in a $249,000 fine by OSHA.
Because MooreCo Inc. did not adhere to lockout/tagout requirements that prevent sudden machine start-ups during maintenance, it ended up being cited for five violations after an employee’s hand was caught in a parts-gluing machine and caused a broken finger. MooreCo was cited for similar violations in 2015 and 2018.
“While the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has given the Temple, TX furniture design and manufacturing company several opportunities to stop exposing its workers to amputation hazards, an investigation into [this] recent serious injury found little has changed,” OSHA says in a press release posted at its site.
In the 2015 incident, fines totally $161,000 were proposed. MooreCo and Manpower Group US Inc., the temporary staffing agency providing MooreCo with workers, were both cited. Proposed fines for MooreCo totaled $122,500, and $38,500 for Manpower. In that case, a temporary Manpower employee at MooreCo had his arm pulled into the machine and lost skin from his wrist to his shoulder.
In the latest incident, OSHA investigated April 20, 2021 in response to a complaint. The employee’s injury occurred while feeding raw materials into a process line that glues furniture parts. Inspectors determined that the company removed guarding and failed to follow hazardous energy control procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or movement during maintenance and servicing.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited MooreCo for three repeat violations related to energy control and two serious violations for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures and provide machine guarding to protect workers from the moving parts. MooreCo Inc. faces $249,657 in proposed fines. An example of a violation description at MooreCo:
“On or about April 20, 2021, and at times prior thereto, the employer did not conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedures on machines such as, but not limited to Glue Line #1 WALCO Roller Coater machine, exposing employees to the hazard of being caught-in moving parts.”
OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, TX says such lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are two of the most frequently cited hazards. “If not addressed, the consequences can be serious or fatal worker injuries,” he says. “The threat of being caught in an unforgiving machine is a constant danger in a manufacturing setting. Aside from the terrible physical toll paid by injured workers, these preventable incidents can be life-altering events that leave workers unable to support themselves and their families.”
Founded in 1985 and rebranded as MooreCo Inc. in 2007, the company designs and manufactures furniture for commercial use in offices, schools and other locations, as well as custom project design. Its clients include the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, NASA, Amazon, and Apple.
The company was given 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.
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 workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.