Enforcement and Inspection, Personnel Safety

OSHA Cites Rhode Island Concrete Maker in Fatality

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Smithfield, Rhode Island, concrete maker for 6 serious safety and health violations, proposing $43,506 in penalties, following a worker fatality investigation.

Greenville Ready Mix Concrete Products, Inc., did not establish a lockout/tagout program to prevent the cement truck drum from operating while employees serviced or maintained it, did not train employees in lockout/tagout procedures, and did not conduct periodic inspections to ensure proper procedures were followed, according to the agency.

OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1910.147) is one of the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards—cited 1,698 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021.

The company could have prevented a worker from suffering fatal head injuries while repairing a cement truck on October 21, 2021, according to the agency. OSHA inspectors determined that, as the worker installed a fabricated plate onto the chute into the drum on the cement truck, the drum began to turn. The mixing fins inside the drum caught the worker’s head, causing fatal injuries.

“This tragedy highlights the dangers of not ensuring lockout/tagout procedures are implemented before workers begin servicing machinery,” Robert Sestito, OSHA’s Providence, Rhode Island, area director, said in an agency statement.

The agency also found that the company did not evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces, such as inside cement truck drums; failed to provide and ensure that employees used fall protection while working on a cement truck platform; and exposed workers to both silica dust and rotating drums and augers.

USPS cited in amputation injury

OSHA also cited the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) after a mechanic’s arm was amputated after contacting a machine whose safety guard was removed.

OSHA cited the USPS with two serious and two repeat violations at its Greensboro, North Carolina, bulk mail processing and distribution center, seeking $170,918 in proposed fines.

“The U.S. Postal Service ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” Kimberley Morton, OSHA’s Raleigh, North Carolina, area director, said in an agency statement.

“The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent another worker from suffering a tragic and life-altering injury,” Morton added.

OSHA’s inspection of the facility identified repeat and serious safety violations, including failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required and allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk of injuries.

The facility also did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout/tagout safety measures, according to the agency. OSHA also found that the USPS allowed workers without adequate training and protective equipment to perform tests on live electrical equipment.