Missouri Wine-Barrel Co to Pay Heavy Fines for Multiple Amputations

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A Missouri spirits and wine barrel-making company has been fined $413,370 by OSHA for exposing its employees to amputation, noise, and other safety and health hazards at its Lebanon, Missouri facility.

Missouri Cooperage Company LLC, a subsidiary of the Independent Stave Company, is facing severe penalties after OSHA inspectors visited the facility in February 2019 following an employee’s finger amputation – the fifth such amputation injury that the company reported in a 14-month period.

The inspectors cited the company for operating an unguarded chain and sprocket, the same violation that Missouri Cooperage was cited for in February 2018.

The agency also cited the company for:

  • Exposing employees to electrical and occupational noise hazards;
  • Failing to guard machines and implement adequate lockout and tagout procedures; and
  • Creating a potential fire hazard by allowing dust to accumulate on floors and surfaces.

Lance Blackwell, company safety director, told the Springfield News-Leader, “Missouri Cooperage currently has an accident rate that is well below the national average for manufacturers of similar size.

Blackwell added, “In addition to our peer-to-peer safety program, our employee safety committees, and safety incentive plans, our relationship with OSHA is important, and we share their mission of championing employee safety.”