By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD, Ind. — The state has launched an investigation into a workplace accident where a 70-year-old man was severely injured.
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) is investigating ELSA LLC., 1240 S. Indiana 37, after the company failed to file an accident report with the state department for an accident that occurred more than two months ago.
“If it turns out it was a reportable incident there will be penalties and an abatement for failing to report it,” said Robert Dittmer, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Labor.
Industrial accidents, where there is a fatality or an injury that requires more than three days of hospitalization, must be reported within eight hours of the incident.
In August, the Elwood Fire Department transported a man who officials say suffered a nonlife-threatening, but serious injury.
The man, who has not been identified, worked for Manson & Mefford, a trucking company with headquarters in Madison. Elwood Fire Capt. Brad Stewart said the man was at ELSA when he was injured by a forklift. The injury was to the man’s left foot and toe area which Stewart described as extensive and similar to degloving – where the skin and tissue are separated from deeper tissues of an extremity.
The man was transported to St. Vincent in Indianapolis and Donna Parker, who works for Manson & Mefford, said he was hospitalized for more than a week and is still recovering from the injury.
ELSA officials declined to comment on the accident in August and again when contacted on Wednesday, but a woman who answered the phone denied the company was being investigated by IOSHA.
Dittmer said the investigation must be concluded within six months, but they would like to have it complete as soon as possible.
“It might take us a little longer because it is so long after the accident,” he said.
The investigation is to determine if any safety violations exist and it is possible that no action will be taken against the company if the incident was handled properly, Dittmer said.
“One of two things will happen,” he said. “They may find there are no safety issues and if our investigator says they did everything right, well, then, it is just a situation where bad things happen. But if he or she finds there has been a safety violation, the department will issue a safety order.”
In 2005, ELSA was cited with 19 workplace violations and fined $6,825 after there was an amputation at the plant. Eleven of the violations were classified as serious in nature.
The company is a manufacturing supplier of automotive parts including fuel tanks, exhaust pipes and mufflers. The company, which opened in 1987, employs approximately 350 people.
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Staying safe The Indiana Department of Labor offers free workplace and health safety services to employers, employees, labor unions, professional groups and trade organizations through its INSafe division. INSafe promotes safety through consultation visits and partners with companies in INSHARP, a safety and health achievement recognition program for small business employers. For more information on programs offered by INSafe, visit www.in.gov/dol/insafe.htm. Source: Indiana Department of Labor