March 23, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Cites U.S. Virgin Islands Concrete Factory
For Exposing Employees to Crushing Hazards Following Fatality
GUAYNABO, PR – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited High Quality Concrete – based in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – for crushing and other hazards following an employee fatality on Sept. 6, 2019. OSHA cited the concrete factory for willful, serious and other-than-serious violations, with proposed penalties of $90,217.
The employee suffered fatal injuries after the forklift he was using to lift and move a 3,200-pound bag of cement overturned due to an unstable load. OSHA cited High Quality Concrete for not training forklift operators on how to properly lift and transport loads, and failing to ensure that operators knew how to handle stable loads and wore seatbelts while operating forklifts.
Following the fatality, OSHA inspectors returned to the factory three times and found that High Quality Concrete continually failed to ensure that employees handled stable or safely arranged loads, resulting in the willful violation. OSHA issued an additional citation for the employer’s failure to report the employee fatality within 8 hours.
"Proper training on the safe use of a forklift could have prevented this tragedy," said OSHA Puerto Rico Area Director Alfredo Nogueras. "Identifying hazards and implementing best practices during the load handling process can protect workers from serious and fatal injuries."
High Quality Concrete has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Release Number: 20-441-NEW/BOS 2020-054
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