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Man loses fingers at cheese factory

Wisconsin's Gilman Cheese Corporation has been placed in OSHA's "Severe Violator Enforcement Program" for two serious injuries that have occurred within the last two years, along with multiple safety violations.

In a workplace injury accident, an employee lost two fingers while using an unguarded cheese packing and labeling machine at the Gilman factory. While performing an inspection, the OSHA discovered that a similar accident had occurred to another employee back in January 2012. The OSHA's area director stated that the recent tragedy could have been prevented if adequate machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures had been in place.

The company was recently fined $126,700 for 10 safety OSHA violations. Violations are classified as willful, serious or other-than-serious by the OSHA.

Gilman Cheese Corporation had two willful violations regarding training and equipment. Willful violations are violations that are committed with intent, knowledge or disregard for the law's requirements.

The company had six serious violations, which are violations where there is substantial probability that death or serious harm could result. These violations included things such as improper guarding on tools, an inadequate number of eyewash stations, and inadequate training and inspection, along with others.

Two other-than-serious violations -- which are violations that are related to job safety and health but are not expected to cause serious harm or death -- were also cited.

The company must respond to the violations within 15 days. Due to the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, the company will now have regular follow-up inspections to ensure they are complying with all laws.

If you have suffered workplace injuries, you are entitled to workers' compensation for your medical bills, lost wages or loss of earning capability. You should contact a knowledgeable, capable attorney to find out what your rights are.

Source:, "Worker Amputation Leads to Major Fine for Company" Michael B. Stack, Aug. 16, 2013

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