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September 25, 2023
Concrete mixer fatality nets $246K OSHA fine

A 19-year-old worker in Florida suffered fatal injuries after a concrete mixer restarted while the teen tried to clean the machine’s inside. Now, Newnan, Georgia-based Foley Products Company faces $245,546 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties for one willful and six serious violations, the agency announced September 20.

OSHA inspectors determined that two employees at Foley Products’ Cantonment, Florida, facility climbed inside a mixer initially to use a hammer and chisel to chip away hardened concrete. As one of the workers left the mixer, the machine restarted with the other inside. 

Agency inspectors cited the company for willfully exposing workers to crushed-by hazards by allowing them to enter the mixer without making sure to first follow energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures. The agency also found that the company exposed workers to confined space hazards by not making sure a safe atmosphere existed inside the mixer before the workers entered and by failing to have an attendant ready to retrieve workers safely.

The agency also determined the company didn’t make sure workers were trained and that they understood the safe application and removal of energy controls before servicing machines. 

OSHA’s control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1910.147) is the agency’s sixth most frequently cited standard, cited 1,977 times in fiscal year (FY) 2022.

“Foley Products Company’s failure to implement well-known safeguards cost the life of a worker just beginning their adulthood,” Jose A. Gonzalez, OSHA’s Mobile, Alabama, area office director, said in an agency statement. “This preventable tragedy should serve as a reminder of the importance of complying with safety and health standards, as required by law.” 

Florida roofer cited in fatal fall

Sealed Tight Roofing Inc. of Hialeah, Florida, is facing $84,379 in proposed penalties following a worker’s fatal fall at a Miami Gardens worksite, OSHA announced September 22.

The agency’s investigation determined that Sealed Tight Roofing Inc., operating as Oceans Roofing & Waterproofing Corp., could have prevented a 28-year-old employee’s fatal injuries from a 40-foot (ft) fall through a commercial roof to a concrete surface below.

Agency inspectors responded to the site and learned that, as five employees of Sealed Tight Roofing worked to replace the roof, one fell through a section of the existing roof that collapsed as the worker was moving a debris-filled wheelbarrow.

The worker was transported to a hospital but later died, according to OSHA.

The agency determined that Sealed Tight Roofing exposed employees to fall hazards up to 40 ft by not providing fall protection or personal fall arrest systems. The company also failed to install covers or guardrail systems around holes in the roof and didn’t make sure working surfaces had the strength and integrity to safely support the workers, according to OSHA.

The agency cited Sealed Tight Roofing with willful and serious violations of the agency’s fall protection standard. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (§1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, cited 5,260 times in FY 2022. The industry’s “fatal four” hazards—the top four causes of construction worker fatalities—include falls, caught-in/-between hazards, electrocution, and struck-by hazards.

“Despite the well-known risks of serious and fatal injuries when working at heights without fall protection, Sealed Tight Roofing failed in their obligation to protect their workers’ safety. That failure cost this young worker his life,” Condell Eastmond, OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area office director, said in an agency statement. “Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and we will continue to hold employers accountable when they disregard safety requirements.” 

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