June 18, 2015
OSHA cites construction company in death of heavy equipment operator
Employer name: Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Concrete Inc., Columbus, Nebraska
Investigation site: 3304 North Shore Drive
Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On April 11, a 26-year-old employee was killed after being struck in the head by a metal tow rope connection while operating a front-end loader. An investigation of the fatality by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Omaha Area Office found this tragedy may have been avoided if his employer, Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Concrete Inc., had implemented procedures to protect the worker from struck-by hazards.
Investigators found the front end loader was attempting to tow a concrete truck that had become struck in the sand. The front end loader was connected to the concrete mixer truck by a tow rope and chain. A link on the chain failed, causing the tow rope to snap back and the metal tow rope connection went through the window of the cab striking the employee. One serious violation cites the company under OSHA's general duty clause, for failing to provide a workplace free of hazards.
Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Concrete also failed to properly train employees in towing methods, connecting techniques and the usage of appropriate towing components, resulting in a serious violation.
Additionally, the company was cited for not notifying OSHA of the death of the employee within eight hours following a work-related incident. OSHA was notified two-days after the incident.
Quote: "This was tragic and preventable death that has forever altered the lives of this employee's wife and three children," said Darwin Craig, OSHA's Acting Area Director in Omaha. "No worker should fail to return home at the end of the day. Employers must review their operating and training procedures to ensure that safety is the first priority on the job site."
Proposed Penalties: $14,630
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, losses of an eye, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0171.
Release Number: 15-1201-KAN
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