Day After Fatality, Worker Faces Same Hazard

Friday, December 5, 2014 @ 04:12 PM gHale

Two companies are facing fines of $84,000 each for failing to turn off a machine before servicing and maintaining it, which led to the death of one worker and exposing another one to the potential hazard the very next day.

A 39-year-old worker ended up crushed to death on May 22 while repairing a bin at the Ready Mix Batch Plant owned by Nuvo Construction Co. in Milwaukee, WI. The following day, an employee for a different company, Sonag Ready Mix LLC, completed repairs to a bin sensor at the Ready Mix Batch Plant while exposed to the same hazard.

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As a result, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials cited both companies for failure to turn off the machine on either day before service and maintenance. Nuvo Construction employs 50 workers and Sonag Ready Mix 30.

“Three young children lost their father in a preventable tragedy, had Nuvo Construction established and implemented basic safety procedures,” said Chris Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “It was willfully negligent for Sonag Ready Mix to allow an employee to complete the repair the next day, which exposed a second man to a potentially fatal injury.”

OSHA cited each company for one willful violation for failure to implement and use required safety procedures. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Nuvo Construction and Sonag Ready Mix also ended up cited for failure to de-energize plant equipment before maintenance and train workers on procedures to lockout energy sources. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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