Henkel Corporation has been hit by a fine of more than $200,000 after the death of a temporary worker at one of its US facilities.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA, cited the firm for multiple serious and willful violations following the April death of the worker who became entangled with the exposed rotating shaft of a mixer while mixing industrial adhesive.
Cal/OSHA sanctioned the company for $200,825 after it failed to identify and safeguard against the hazards of working near the mixer.
The investigation resulted in citations to the Henkel Corporation for six serious violations, two of which are considered willful serious and one general violation.
Henkel Corporation did not respond to our request for comment before deadline.
The German multinational company has a manufacturing plant in Bay Point, where the accident occurred, which focuses around adhesive technologies and is also active in adhesives for the food packaging industry.
"This tragedy was completely preventable, and underscores what can go wrong when employers do not take the necessary measures to correct workplace safety hazards," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), of which Cal/OSHA is a division.
The willful violations were issued for Henkel's failure to properly set up and maintain operation guards for the mixer involved; and for failing to follow its own Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) provisions regarding the identification and correction of serious hazards posed by the mixer.
Partial guard on mixer operation
The investigation also revealed the company continued to operate the mixer despite knowing that the partial guard on the mixer exposed workers to dangerous moving parts.
The temporary worker was pulled into the unguarded mixer shaft and was unable to free himself from the shaft. He subsequently died from his injuries.
One of the serious violations issued against Henkel was for their failure to ensure that sleeves on employee coveralls fit tightly so clothing would not get caught in machinery.
"While hazards exist in most workplaces, employers have a legal responsibility to make their employees aware of those hazards and to institute a process to minimize them. When they fail to do so, tragic consequences like this death can occur," said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.