Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-177
Wednesday, Oct. 04, 2000
Contact: Lawrence Falck
PHONE: (813) 626-1177 ext. 0
OSHA FINES CONCRETE PIPE MANUFACTURER $93,600 FOLLOWING FATALITY AT KISSIMMEE PLANT
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Joelson Concrete Pipe Company and proposed fines totaling $93,600 following a fatal accident at the company's Kissimmee, Fla., plant.
According to Lawrence Falck, OSHA's Tampa area director, the accident occurred on March 27 just before quitting time at the plant which manufactures precast sound walls and steel reenforced concrete piping.
Falck explained that the manufacturing process for concrete piping involves three stations rotating like a carousel table around a pit. On the table's first turn, a casing is lowered over a core already in the pit; on the next turn, concrete is poured into the casing and core and, on the last turn, the concrete is pressed to form a pipe.
"To save time at the end of the day, workers would enter the 7-foot deep pit and start cleaning the rotating table while piping was still being manufactured at the other two stations," said Falck. "This practice conflicts with the manufacturer's prohibition against employees being inside the pit while the equipment is in operation. As a result, a worker's head was crushed when he was caught between pinch points created by the rotating carousel table."
Following investigation of the accident, OSHA cited the company for one willful violation for failure to enforce its lockout policy and to train workers about lockout/tagout procedures which render a machine inoperable during maintenance and repair. Grouped with this violation, another was cited for not developing and implementing equipment-specific lockout/tagout procedures. The willful citation carries a $63,000 penalty.
Nine additional serious violations will cost Joelson Concrete Pipe Company another $30,600. The serious citations include: failing to protect employees from falling into a permanent floor opening or from open sided platforms; exposing workers to hazards associated with climbing stairways with risers higher than 10 inches; machine guarding deficiencies; electrical hazards, and permit-required confined space deficiencies.
"This company was aware that its employees were not protected from moving machine parts," said Falck. "The equipment manufacturer had provided training to the employer and there were appropriate warning signs on the equipment."
Falck added, "When a hazard is known, the employer has an obligation to protect workers who might be affected. Being proactive prior to an OSHA inspection can alleviate expensive penalties and, more importantly, can prevent accidents and save lives."
A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
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 company, which does business as Joelson Taylor Concrete Products, employs about 68 workers at the Kissimmee location. A new facility under construction in Tallahassee will add to the nearly 400 workers employed at three other Florida plants in Venice, Bradenton and Green Cove Springs.
Joelson Concrete has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's Tampa area office located at 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A, Tampa, Fla. 33610-4249; telephone: (813) 626-1177.