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Federal investigators discover employee sustained fatal injuries as duct tape held open machine safety guards at Kingsman Plastics Plant

KINGMAN, KS ‒ A Kingman plastics manufacturer’s failure to ensure that required safety procedures were followed contributed to the death of a worker who suffered fatal injuries when he became entangled in a rotating part inside a bagging machine while trying to clear a jam, according to a federal occupational safety investigation.

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators responded to the August 4, 2022 death at Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC and discovered that the tape over the safety interlock prevented the machine from shutting down. The victim was caught by the machine and pulled into its spinning bars.

OSHA has issued citations to the company, trading as FabPro Polymers, for two group willful violations, one repeat violation, and seven serious violations for the following conditions:

  • The absence of adequate protection of the machine.
  • Do not use lockout/tagout procedures to interrupt machine operation during service and maintenance.
  • Do not train workers in lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Exposing workers to slip and fall hazards from plastic particles and spilled hydraulic fluid on floors.

OSHA has proposed fines of $292,421. In 2019, the agency sued the company for similar violations at the plant that produces plastic fibers for use in cement and other construction products.

“Proper safety procedures and training could have prevented this worker from losing his life,” said Todd Underwood, OSHA Area Director in Wichita, Kansas. “The manufacturing industry knows that moving machine parts can be deadly, especially when proper guarding is not used and safety procedures are ignored.”

OSHA investigators found that the employer failed to ensure that lockout/tagout procedures were in place while unlocking the machinery. The company also failed to train workers in lockout/tagout procedures.

A subsidiary of the German MBCC Group, Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC manufactures and supplies building materials and products worldwide.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of subpoenas and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Area Director, or challenge the findings before the Independent Commission on Occupational Safety and Health Review.

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