Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-61
Fri., April 6, 2001
Contact: Paul Alvarado
Phone: (205) 731-1534
OSHA FINES BIRMINGHAM MANUFACTURED HOME BUILDER $79,600 FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Spiral Industry, Inc., a Birmingham manufactured home builder, and fined the company $79,600 following investigation of a fatal accident.
An employee was critically injured on Oct. 12 when he was caught between two sections of a double-wide mobile home as they were being pushed together. The victim died a month later after surgery in connection with his injuries.
Following an investigation of the accident, OSHA cited Spiral Industry for 12 serious and five repeat safety violations.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. The 12 serious citations, with penalties totaling $47,600, included:
- failure to protect employees from potential crushing hazards when mobile home sections are moved;
- failure to protect workers from fall hazards by properly guarding suspended platforms and ensuring they remain free of debris;
- neglecting to install toe boards on suspended platforms to protect employees from overhead hazards;
- exposing employees to fire and explosion hazards by failing to protect a gasoline tank from vehicular damage during refueling operations;
- failure to provide workers with proper personal protective equipment;
- failure to properly label hazardous chemicals;
- lack of a workplace hazard assessment, and
- unguarded belts and pulleys.
The remaining penalty of $32,000 was proposed for violations which were categorized as repeat because the company had been cited for the same or similar hazards previously. These included failure to install adequate guarding at suspended platforms; allowing suspended platforms to be cluttered with debris; failure to properly identify exits; unguarded saw blades, and failure to identify circuits and disconnects which could cause electrical shocks.
"This employer did not take necessary precautions to safeguard workers from crushing hazards while joining two halves of a double-wide home," said Paul Alvarado, OSHA's acting area director in Birmingham. "Several safety lapses contributed to the fatal accident, including failing to ensure that the mobile home sections were unoccupied before they were pushed together; not notifying nearby employees of the planned movement, and reassigning 'spotters' to help push the motor home sections rather than ensuring that they remained at their stations to look out for the safety of other employees."
Alvarado added, "Other protective measures were also lacking. Workers on a suspended platform without guardrails were placed at substantial risk of injury from falls and others working with unguarded saws were exposed to potential cuts and amputations."
Spiral Industry, which employs approximately 120 workers, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the Birmingham company was conducted by OSHA's area office located at Vestavia Village, 2047 Canyon Road, Birmingham, Ala. 35216; telephone: (205) 731-1534.