A worker at Aardvark Clay & Supplies, Inc. passed away in a tragic accident when he was entangled in a pug mill, which is a clay manufacturing machine. In the wake of the accident, Cal/OSHA recently decided to fine the company in excess of $250,000.
According to reports, the citations are for “willful failure” to put guards in place to keep workers from getting caught in the machine. In fact, it appears that they had removed the safety guards prior to use. Moreover, they had allegedly neglected to train the worker regarding how to use the pug mill safely.
“Pug mills have rotating blades that can cause amputations and fatally injure employees,” noted the chief at Cal/OSHA in a statement. “Employers must ensure all machinery and its parts are properly guarded, and employees are effectively trained to prevent tragic accidents like this.”
Reports do note that a new pug mill from the manufacturer has safety guards that could have saved the man’s life. The company apparently took them off. They then fabricated their own guards, but they determined that the new ones interfered with production numbers, so they took them back off again.
In industries where production is at a premium, it can be tempting for employers to cut corners and ignore safety protocols so that they can get more done. They see it as a way to increase earnings. However, this story shows why doing so is not worth it and can have tragic consequences. The families of those who pass away on the job need to know all of the legal options they have.