A 38-year-old male supervisor (the victim) at a plastics molding company died when his head was crushed between moving parts of an injection molding machine. The incident occurred at one of three plants operated by the company, whose central office was in another state. The plant maintenance and repair person quit the company about a month before the incident, and a replacement had not been hired. About two weeks before the incident, a machine guard had been removed from the molding machine in preparation for a visit from a maintenance worker from another company plant. At the time of the incident, the victim (shift supervisor) and a co-worker were examining the machine to determine the location of a hydraulic fluid leak. The molding machine was operating while the victim and co-worker peered into it so they could see the location of the leaks with the hydraulic hoses under pressure. The victim was bending forward into the back of the machine, with his head positioned next to a fixed metal bracket. The machine cycled automatically, causing a metal tie bar to move back and pinch his head against the bracket with about 500 pounds of pressure. The co-worker heard a sound, looked in the direction where the victim had been working, and saw the victim's head pinned in the machine. The co-worker called for help, the machine was turned off, and the victim was released. EMS workers arrived within four minutes, and transported the victim to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. To prevent future fatalities of this type, the FACE investigator recommends employers should: 1. Maintain guards in place over machine pinch points when machines are operating. 2. Develop and enforce specific lockout and tagout procedures for injection molding machines.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Machine-guarding; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Equipment-operators; Plastics-industry