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June 19, 2017

OSHA reports six on-the-job fatalities for 2015-16

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reported 136 severe injuries and six fatalities in Maine for the 2015-16 workplace safety reporting period.

Deaths were attributed to a fall into a wood chipper, being hit with a vehicle gate, a fall from a waste-disposal truck, being hit by a bulldozer, being crush by a falling tree trunk and a fall from a building under construction, according to OSHA data collected by the Portland Press Herald.

Injuries ranged from broken bones to lacerations to lost fingers. Causes ranged from slipping and falling on ice to power equipment accidents to forklift mishaps.

Examples of injuries include the amputation of two fingers on a glue spreader at Cousineau Wood Products LLC in North Anson. At Scotts Co. LLC in Medway, an employee climbing loader stairs in the grinder room caught his foot on a tread, fell backward and cracked his ribs.

In April, Michael Bourque, senior vice president of external affairs at the Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Co., told Mainebiz that an increased focus on preventive safety in the workplace as helped change workplace culture. Since 1992, he said, reforms have resulted in the increased focus, and safety has gotten better across the board. That's seen, he said, in the decline of workers' compensation costs, which have dropped nearly 60% since 1992.

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