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Region 7 News Release: 09-1075-KAN
Sept. 9, 2009
Contact: Jeremy Eggers
Phone: 303-844-1299

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites Knobel's Refrigeration Inc. of North Platte, Neb., for worksite safety violations

OMAHA, Neb. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Knobel's Refrigeration Inc. of North Platte, Neb., for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

OSHA cited the company following an investigation into an accident in North Platte, where an employee fell about 12 feet to the ground while trying to access the roof of a building to service refrigeration equipment. The employee died from injuries sustained in the fall 10 days later.

"Fall hazards must be eliminated," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to inspect equipment and provide training for their workers to prevent accidents like this from occurring."

The employee was climbing a fixed ladder to access the roof when he lost his grip near the top rung of the ladder and fell to the ground.

Inspectors found three alleged serious and one alleged other-than-serious violations of the OSH Act.

Two serious violations relate to using a fixed ladder with less than 7 inches of perpendicular clearance between the rungs and any obstruction behind the ladder - in this case, a gutter near the top rung served as an obstruction - as well as failure to train workers on fixed ladder hazards. The third serious violation, unrelated to the accident, involves failure to properly train workers to operate industrial trucks. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious violation relates to the employer's failure to properly record employee injuries and illnesses. OSHA issues other-than-serious citations when the violation is directly related to safety and health but unlikely to cause death or serious physical harm.

The violations carry $15,750 in proposed penalties against the company. Detailed information on fall hazards and fall protection is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.

Knobel's Refrigeration has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


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