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Lockout Violation Results in Broken Finger and $40,000 Fine

A worker was setting up a production line at a manufacturer’s meat processing plant. Noticing that slats underneath the conveyor belt were out of position, he lifted the belt with one hand and began to pound the slats back into place with the other. But he hadn’t locked out or otherwise disabled the conveyor belt. A co-worker pressed the start button and the conveyor belt began to move, pulling the worker’s hand into a sprocket. He sustained a broken finger and required a significant number of stitches. Although the worker had received training on guarding and lock-out procedures in general, he wasn’t trained on locking out the conveyor belt on the production line. The manufacturer pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect his health and safety and was fined $40,000 [Cargill Limited-Cargill Limit‚e, Govt. News Release, April 17, 2014].