Metro-East News

OSHA suggests $92,000 fine for Baldwin power plant; man lost fingers in accident

The Baldwin Energy Complex, owned by Dynegy.
The Baldwin Energy Complex, owned by Dynegy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday issued citations to Dynegy’s Baldwin Energy Complex in connection to an accident last year that resulted in a worker losing four of his fingers.

The plant received one willful citation and seven serious citations on Thursday.

A Dynegy spokesman was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon to comment on the citations or to say whether the safety issues OSHA investigated have been corrected.

According to an OSHA statement: “A 46-year-old worker suffered the amputation of four fingers on his right hand when a feed machine cycled as he reached inside an access door to assist another employee with maintenance. Federal safety inspectors found his employer, Dynegy Midwest Generation LLC, failed to power down the machinery prior to employees servicing the machine.”

“During the investigation, OSHA found that multi-finger amputations also occurred on this same machine in August 2011 and October 2012,” OSHA said.

Additionally, OSHA found that Dynegy:

▪  Failed to provide hand protection for employees exposed to lime

▪  Failed to place caution signs on access doors of machinery to warn employees of amputation hazards

▪  Failed to conduct hazard assessments to determine the need for personal protective equipment

▪  Failed to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures at least annually

“Employees should never reach into operating machines to conduct service or maintenance. This was a preventable incident that has severely impacted this employee’s life and ability to earn a living,” said Aaron Priddy, area director of OSHA’s Fairview Heights office. “OSHA’s revised guidelines for the reporting of amputation injuries have led to greater intervention to improve safety. (Dynegy) needs to take immediate action to fix safety issues at its facilities to protect employees from additional injuries.”

“The Baldwin Power Station has operated safely and reliably for over 40 years. OSHA violations have been an extremely rare occurrence for Dynegy, and we take the citations very seriously,” Dynegy said in a statement. “Dynegy is analyzing the citations, and we look forward to working with OSHA to reach a conclusion.”

OSHA suggested fines totaling $92,000. Dynegy has 15 days from receipt of the citations to pay the fines, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Citations issued become final orders after any combination of those scenarios play out.

Tobias Wall: 618-239-2501, @Wall_BND