Musculoskeletal Injuries Cited in Violations At Seat Manufacturer

On November 20, 2016, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Missouri-based automotive seat manufacturer, Magna Seating, for (1) serious health violation. Following a May 2016 investigation of the company’s Excelsior Springs facility, the agency found that several of the employee processes, along the manufacturing line, were in violation of medical restrictions. As a result, many employees had been suffering musculoskeletal injuries. Upon agency review of the company logs, more than 20 musculoskeletal disorder injuries had been recorded, since 2014. The proposed penalties for these citations is, $12,471.

OSHA also issued the company two Hazard Alert letters. In these letters, the agency has an opportunity to raise any concern about possible medical mismanagement by the reviewed party.

Those concerns outlined by OSHA in this instance include:

  • Denial of access to medical care
  • Violation of medical restrictions for injured employees suffering from musculoskeletal injuries
  • Implementing injurious tasks on the manufacturing line

OSHA review of manufacturing line processes showed the following processes to be injurious to ergonomic function (including a variety of musculoskeletal injuries):

  • Repetitive motion assembly of automotive seats
  • Forceful exertions and awkward postures
  • Extended reach too high or too low for prolonged periods of time

Kansas City area director, Karena Lorek, said, “OSHA’s review found multiple reports of hand, wrist, and shoulder injuries, related to employees accomplishing tasks that require repetitive motion and awkward posture. Musculoskeletal injuries are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. Magna Seating’s lost-work time rate was more than twice the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ industry average. The company needs to improve its Ergonomics program, to prevent further employee injuries, and review its management of employees who suffer work related injuries.”

Magna Seating has been reviewed five times by OSHA, since 2007, including this inspection. Among the various incidents assigned to Magna Seating are three record-keeping violations and a December 2015 employee amputation.

Musculoskeletal injuries are among the most common and persistent cause of lost-work time in the general industry. One way to combat an obvious loss in productivity, from an employer standpoint, and a violation of health standards compliance, for safety leaders, is to utilize an OSHA-approved online training course.