Wine Barrel Maker Facing $400K in OSHA Fines

The company reported five amputations within a 14-month period.

Hand Pushing Emergency Stop

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Missouri Cooperage Company LLC for exposing employees to amputation, noise, and other safety and health hazards at the spirits and wine barrel-making facility in Lebanon, Missouri. The company faces $413,370 in federal penalties.

OSHA initiated an inspection after the  company reported that an employee suffered a finger amputation when her hand was caught between the belt and pulley system. This was the fifth amputation injury the company reported in a 14-month period. Inspectors cited the company for operating an unguarded chain and sprocket – the same violation for which OSHA cited the company in February 2018.

OSHA also cited the company for exposing employees to electrical and occupational noise hazards, failing to guard machines and implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures, and creating a potential fire hazard by allowing dust to accumulate on floors and surfaces.

“Employers must follow the legal requirements put in place to protect workers from injuries. Anything less than that is unacceptable,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and train employees and managers to use proper safety controls and equipment to keep their worksites safe and healthful.”

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 an independent commission.