Oct. 28, 2015 BOS 2015-202
Landscape employee's death after being struck by rock 'easily preventable'
OSHA: Proper maintenance of equipment would have prevented hazard
Employer name: Perry's Maintenance Inc., headquartered in Lockport, New York
Inspection site: 4306 Shimerville Rd., Clarence, N.Y. 14031
Date inspection initiated: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration began its inspection on June 11, 2015, upon learning of the death of an employee who had been injured on June 6 and died on June 10. He was trimming weeds when he was struck in the back of the head by a rock that shot out of the grass clipping discharge chute of a riding lawnmower being operated nearby by another employee.
Investigation findings: OSHA found that the lawnmower's discharge chute lacked the guard that prevents rocks and other objects from shooting out. The bracket used to attach the discharge chute was broken in 2014 and the company had not repaired or replaced it since. This left employees vulnerable to struck-by injuries. As a result, OSHA cited Perry Maintenance on Sept. 30 for one willful violation of workplace safety standards. The company has contested its citations and penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Proposed penalties: $70,000
Quote: "This worker's death was easily preventable. The attachment and use of the required guard for the discharge chute would have kept this hazard from occurring in the first place," said Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Employers should take note of this tragic incident and ensure that required safeguards are in place and in use to protect their employees against injury or death."
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Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 15-2091-NEW
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