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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 02-70
Fri., April 26, 2002
Contact: Roberto Sanchez
Phone: (404) 562-2076
Media Contact: J. Burgoyne
Phone (404) 562-2076
Fatal Decatur, Ala., Crushing Accident Could Cost Alabama
Company $43,000 in OSHA Fines
DECATUR, Ala. -- Failure to protect workers from crushing accidents may cost Huntsville, Ala.-based Southeastern Mobile Crushing, Inc. $43,050, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The fine follows an inspection of a fatal accident at a Decatur, Ala., asphalt plant.
On Jan. 04, a crew employed by the construction material recycling company was setting up equipment at the Decatur plant in preparation for a recycling operation. In connection with the set-up, a trackhoe machine and makeshift sling were used to raise a conveyor which was stuck in the transport position. While employees were under the machine trying to beat it loose, the chain sling broke. One employee was crushed by the falling conveyor.
"A major cause of worker deaths is being struck by an object, and approximately 75 percent of these kinds of fatalities involve heavy equipment," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's Birmingham area director. "With proper training and procedures, this crushing accident could have been avoided."
Following an inspection of the fatality, OSHA cited Southeastern Mobile Crushing, Inc. for 13 serious violations of safety standards. The citations, which drew a total of $43,050 in fines, include using unapproved pins to support the crusher which can lead to crushing accidents; using front-end loaders to lift and transport personnel; lack of proper railing to prevent fall hazards; no head protection; no lockout-tagout program to render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair; damaged lifting/rigging equipment which had not been properly certified or inspected; electrical hazards due to defective welding equipment; lack of machine guarding, and lack of a hazard communication program.
Serious violations are those where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Southeastern Mobile Crushing, Inc. has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the Decatur facility was conducted by OSHA's area office located at Vestavia Village, 2047 Canyon Rd., Birmingham, Ala. 35216-1981; telephone: (205) 731-1534.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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