GREEN BAY (Wisconsin) — A workplace with dangerous machines, improper equipment, and missing guardrails caused a worker to lose their finger, according to a government report

Tufco LP, a household cleaning products manufacturer in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was recently cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a lack of adequate machine guarding and safety procedures. This citation came after an employee’s fingertip was amputated while performing maintenance on a pump in August 2023.

According to the investigation, the employee was part of an overnight crew responsible for running and maintaining melt tanks used to create scented laundry beads. However, the product lines were not properly locked out or shut down, exposing the worker to the pumps’ point of operation. OSHA inspectors also found that Tufco LP did not have written lockout/tagout procedures in place to prevent employees from coming into contact with moving machine parts. Additionally, the company failed to retrain employees on these procedures when they were reassigned to a new production area.

Furthermore, OSHA noted a lack of machine guarding and the absence of a respiratory protection program at the plant. This is not the first time Tufco LP has been cited for similar hazards, as the company was also cited in 2019 and 2021. As a result, the company has been charged with one repeat, four serious, and two other-than-serious violations, and faces a proposed penalty of $194,518.

OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin, stated that Tufco LP failed to assess and mitigate potential hazards before allowing employees to operate new product lines. He also emphasized the importance of making the health and safety of workers a core value in the workplace, as hundreds of workers are injured each year due to exposure to machine hazards.

To help employers understand their responsibilities in limiting worker exposure to machine hazards, OSHA provides information on machine guarding and control of hazardous energy on their website. Tufco LP, which produces household cleaning and laundry products such as sanitation wipes, laundry scent beads, and dryer sheets, has 15 business days to comply with the citations and penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  

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