DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating an accident at the Liberty Tire L.L.C. scrap tire processing facility in Des Moines in which a man lost part of his right arm.
The accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. on May 9, according to Lt. Chris Clement of the Des Moines Fire Department. The victim, whom Mr. Clement described as a man in his 50s, got his arm caught in a conveyor system.
"His co-workers were able to get him back from the conveyor and use an orange safety vest as an emergency tourniquet," Mr. Clement said. They also extricated the severed arm from the machinery, he said.
Paramedics transported the victim, who remained alert and responsive throughout his ordeal, to a local hospital, according to Mr. Clement. He did not identify the man.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa OSHA said the agency began its investigation of the accident May 10. Accident investigations generally take about six months to complete, she said.
Mr. Clement said he wasn't certain whether the victim was a Liberty Tire employee or a contractor, but Liberty Tire identified him as an employee.
"We are deeply saddened at the injury suffered by our valued employee," the company said in a statement issued from its Pittsburgh headquarters. "Our hearts go out to him and his loved ones, and all of us are praying for his recovery.
"As always, employee well-being remains our top concern, and we are working closely with local authorities to help ensure the effectiveness of our safety standards and practices," Liberty Tire said.
According to its website, Liberty Tire employs more than 1,500 workers at 24 recycled rubber production facilities and 26 scrap tire collection/remediation facilities across North America. It processes more than 150 million tires annually for various end-use markets.