Safety Fines after Steel Fab Worker Dies

Friday, June 6, 2014 @ 06:06 PM gHale

A 46-year-old worker at a Boston steel fabrication shop died on Dec. 9, 2013, when a 12,000-pound steel bridge arch beam that he was spray painting fell and crushed him.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found Boston Bridge & Steel Inc., of East Boston, MA, failed to ensure the fallen beam and three similar beams had adequate bracing or support to prevent them from falling while workers painted them. The company is now facing $72,450 in fines after the death of Marco Antonio Huezo Mancea, 46.

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“This death should not have happened-and would not have happened-if these beams had been properly secured,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “An incident such as this, and the incalculable loss of life that results, can be prevented only if employers provide and maintain effective safeguards for their workers.”

The employees, who were cleaning and spray painting the beams, also lacked adequate respiratory protection against vapors generated during the spray painting. The workers, who wore half-face respirators, had not undergone an evaluation to determine their medical fitness to use respirators and did not have the correct respirator filters. The employees also did not have proper information and training about the hazards associated with chemicals used during spray painting.

Additional hazards included flying debris from an unguarded grinder and the use of a cleaning hose with excess air pressure; flash burns due to missing screens where welding was performed; electric shock and fire hazards from misused electrical cords and missing electrical knockouts; falls from a damaged access ladder; and slips and trips from accumulated ice and snow on an emergency exit route.

The company is facing 13 serious violations for those A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two repeat violations were for conditions similar to those cited by OSHA during 2010 and 2011 inspections, when the plant’s name was Tuckerman Steel Fabrication Inc. These included fall hazards from an unguarded crane access platform and electrical hazards from running a flexible power cord through the wall to power equipment located outside the building. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

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