TRENTON, Fla. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is fining Tri County Metals of Florida after a 21-year-old employee suffered a partial hand amputation using a machine that cuts sheet metal for the roofing industry.

According to a release from the Department of Labor, on Feb. 1, 2021, the employee sustained the injury while operating the metal-cutting machine. Investigations revealed that Blac Investments Inc. — operating as Tri County Metals — removed protective shear guards from the machine because the guards caused imperfections to newly manufactured roofing panels.

OSHA cited the company for a willful violation for removing the guards and exposing workers to amputations hazards. The agency proposed $122,879 in penalties.

“Blac Investments’ management made a conscious decision to remove guards on three machines that exposed workers to dangerous metal shears,” said OSHA Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez in Jacksonville, Fla. “They put profits over their employees’ safety and a young worker is permanently disabled.”

Headquartered in Trenton, Blac Investments Inc. manufactures commercial and residential metal-roofing materials at six other locations in Live Oak, Ocala, Tallahassee, Brooksville, Deland and Jacksonville.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

View the full citation here.