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Company contesting OSHA violations after employee fatality

If you have a career in the construction industry, you may encounter more workplace injuries than those that work in an office setting. Last March an employee was accidentally killed at a construction site for PARTA's Kent Central Gateway transit center and now the employer is appealing two workplace safety citations it was issued in connection to the man's death.

The workplace accident occurred when the victim was walking between a stack of concrete panels when a Caterpillar excavator moved and pinned him between the machine and the concrete. Workers were able to free the man who was taken to a local hospital, but later died from his injuries.

After the accident Lockhart Concrete was cited for serious violations from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The citations included a penalty of $8,820 and the company is now contesting them.

OSHA cited the company for not having an established safety zone around the hydraulic excavator to prevent employees from coming within its swing radius. OSHA also imposed the following abatement requirements:

  • Stating manufacturer's recommendations for hydraulic excavators warning people from preventing serious injury.
  • Designating a signalman and safety zone around the hydraulic excavator during operation.
  • Develop a safety plan for material storage to make sure it is not stored within the swing radius of the hydraulic excavator.

According to OSHA the type of tragic accident that happened at Lockhart is one of the top four causes of construction worker fatalities in the United States. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were:

  • Falls - 35 percent
  • Struck by an object - 10 percent
  • Electrocution - 9 percent
  • Caught in or between an object - 3 percent

It is not uncommon for companies to contest citations and it's a part of the normal process. Lockhart has had no prior citations from the labor department for safety or other job-site violations.

Source: KentPatch, "PARTA Subcontractor Appealing Citations Related to Worker's Death," Kasha Legeza, Jan. 2, 2013

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