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Investigation into worker’s severe arm injury finds Cusseta auto parts manufacturer, supplier willfully ignored safety precautions

CUSSETA, AL – A 64-year-old employee suffered an arm amputation, federal workplace safety investigators found, as a result of a Cusseta auto parts manufacturer and supplier’s willful failure to follow required safety standards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the assembler, working at Leehan America Inc., sustained the severe injury when struck by a forklift on April 14, 2021. OSHA investigators cited the company with a willful violation after learning they allowed the forklift’s driver to operate the vehicle without training. In addition, OSHA cited Leehan America with a repeat violation when they found no machine guarding in place, an amputation hazard for which the agency cited the company in April 2018.

OSHA also found the company failed to ensure the use of energy control procedures and did not provide employees with lockout/tagout devices. Leehan America also failed to conduct forklift evaluations for operators that were trained at least every three years, and examine forklifts and remove unsafe vehicles from service as required.

OSHA has proposed $205,384 in penalties for Leehan America.

“Leehan America knew the requirements and willfully ignored them, and a worker suffered a life-changing injury,” said OSHA Area Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “Adding to the tragedy is the knowledge that if appropriate safety precautions were taken, the incident was preventable. There is no excuse for taking shortcuts that put workers’ safety and health in jeopardy.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.

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