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Worker Dies 4 Months After OSHA Cites Employer For Failure To Protect Workers

A 42-year-old employee fell 22 feet to his death at the same site OSHA had cited for safety violations four months prior.

A 42-year-old employee fell 22 feet to his death at the same site OSHA had cited for safety violations four months prior. 

OSHA cited Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services last week following an investigation on the fatality that took place in February earlier this year. The company was cited for three egregious willful violations for exposing workers to falls over 6 feet as well as three repeated and three serious safety violations. 

The company was under contract with United Parcel Service to remove the existing conveyor system at the Addison, IL site and install a new high-speed system. The violations include exposing workers to falls of up to 22 feet while working on raised surfaces that didn't have protected sides and failure to determine the structural support of the surfaces. OSHA also found the company created a serious fire hazard by allowing workers to use a combustible polyethylene tarp in place of a wleding curtain. 

“A man is dead because this employer decided to break the law over and over again. Before this tragedy, OSHA cited this contractor twice for exposing workers to fall hazards, including at the same site just four months earlier,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor of Occupational Safety and Health. “OSHA is asking companies contracting with Material Handling Systems to take strong steps to ensure that this employer protects its employees, and terminate its contracts if this employer continues to violate OSHA regulations. Material Handling Systems employer must demonstrate it can work safely and stop injuring its employees.”

Previously, OSHA cited the company for fall protection violations in October 2015 at the same job site. The company was also cited for similar violations at the Keasby, NJ location in 2014 following an employee fall that resulted in serious injuries. Fall protection citations for the company date back to 2012 in Florida and 2009 in Oregon.

Material Handling Sytems/MHS Technical Services faces proposed penalties of $320,400 and has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply.