A 39-year-old worker and father of three was crushed to death on May 22, 2014, while repairing a bin at the Ready Mix Batch Plant owned by Nuvo Construction Co in Milwaukee, reports WorkersCompensation.com
The following day, an employee for a different company, Sonag Ready Mix LLC, completed repairs to a bin sensor at the Ready Mix Batch Plant while exposed to the same hazard.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited both companies for failure to turn off the machine on either day before service and maintenance. OSHA proposed penalties of $84,000 for each company.
“Three young children lost their father in a preventable tragedy, had Nuvo Construction established and implemented basic safety procedures,” said Chris Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee. “It was willfully negligent for Sonag Ready Mix to allow an employee to complete the repair the next day, which exposed a second man to a potentially fatal injury.”
Each company was cited for one willful violation for failure to implement and use required safety procedures. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Nuvo Construction and Sonag Ready Mix also were cited for failure to de-energize plant equipment before maintenance and train workers on procedures to lockout energy sources. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Nuvo Construction employs about 50 workers and Sonag Ready Mix about 30 workers. Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.