A Florida company faces a $122,000 federal fine for a “willful” violation after creating a danger that ended with a 21-year-old worker losing a hand in February, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
In a release, the labor department said Blac Investments, which operates as Tri County Metals, took protective guards off a sheet metal cutting machine “because the guards caused imperfections to newly manufactured roofing panels.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration judged that a “willful” violation, defined by the agency as “a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”
OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzelez said in a statement: “Blac Investments’ management made a conscious decision to remove guards on three machines that exposed workers to dangerous metal shears. They put profits over their employees’ safety and a young worker is permanently disabled.”
Blac Investments, based in Trenton, Florida, is run by Betsy Weatherilt and Christopher Weatherilt, according to its state registration. It has until Aug. 12 to pay the fine, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the fine before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
As of Thursday afternoon, the company had not returned a message left for comment.