Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 4


July 9, 2024

US Department of Labor finds Alabama concrete contractor failed to protect 65-year-old employee fatally struck by 4-ton container near Tuscaloosa

Ballard Contractors did not ensure rigging equipment had rating for 8,575-pound load

MOUNDVILLE, AL – A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found an industrial concrete construction contractor failed to follow required safety procedures that could have prevented a 65-year-old worker from suffering fatal injuries when a shipping container weighing more than four tons fell and struck the employee at a job site near Tuscaloosa.

Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the employee of Ballard Contractors Inc. in Moundville was guiding an 8,575-pound shipping container into place when one of the chains used to lift the box snapped.

OSHA determined the company violated federal regulations by doing the following:

  • Failing to ensure rigging equipment was rated properly to handle the container’s weight.
  • Permitting an employee to work near or beneath a moving load while moving a container.
  • Allowing workers to use steel chain slings and a four-way chain lift without identification plates attached or load ratings indicated.
  • Failing to perform periodic inspections of slings.
  • Not ensuring fall protection was in place while workers connected rigging equipment to an overhead crane at heights of 11 feet.

"Ballard Contractors failed in its legal responsibility to provide its employees with a safe work environment, especially when it comes to dealing with the serious dangers of handling heavy loads," said OSHA Area Office Director Joel Batiz in Birmingham, Alabama. "OSHA standards exist to help prevent tragedies such as this from occurring. Employers must recognize their duty to ensure the safety of their employees."

Ballard Contractors Inc. received citations for eight violations related to its failures to protect workers from fall, struck-by and crushed-by hazards.

"We urge employers to contact OSHA to help them fully understand their obligations," added Batiz. "Our team has many resources to guide them in developing safety plans, identifying workplace hazards and doing all that can be done to make sure employees end their shifts safely."

Established in 1986, Ballard Contractors Inc. specializes in commercial and industrial concrete construction and provides services that include slab on grade, foundations and tilt-up placements; exterior paving; curb and gutter construction, as well as structural concrete work and saw cutting.

The company entered into an informal settlement agreement with OSHA, resolving the citations and penalties.

Learn more about OSHA.

Media Contacts:

Erika B. Ruthman, 678-237-0630, ruthman.erika.b@dol.gov
Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630, lucero.eric.r@dol.gov

Release Number: 24-1267-ATL (180)