WI Metal Fabricator Cited After Teenage Worker Fatally Injuried

A federal investigation, prompted by the death of a 17-year-old worker at a Wisconsin metal fabrication facility, has resulted in multiple safety and health violations.

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COLUMBUS, WI— A federal investigation, prompted by the death of a 17-year-old worker at a Columbus metal fabrication facility, has resulted in multiple safety and health violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued 16 serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violations to G.D. Roberts & Co. Inc., for violations the agency's inspectors found after a machine pinned and injured the teenaged worker on June 27, 2016. He died of his injuries on July 2, 2016.

"A young man suffered a tragic death shortly after starting a new job, leaving his family to grieve their overwhelming loss," said Ann Grevenkamp, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Proper lockout devices along with training could have prevented this tragedy."

Investigators determined the worker was clearing scrap below a loading table for an operating laser-cutter system when the machine lowered onto the victim, trapping him beneath. OSHA found that the company failed to ensure procedures to lockout the machine to prevent unintentional movement were followed, and did not train its employees properly in such safety procedures.

The agency also found G.D. Roberts failed to:

  • Conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures.
  • Affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allow employees to enter machine hazard areas.
  • Conduct noise monitoring.
  • Provide employee's audiograms.
  • Train workers about noise hazards.
  • Follow respiratory protection standards such as fit-testing, training and medical evaluations for employees.
  • Evaluate for airborne hazards.
  • Implement engineering controls for dust and other airborne hazard exposure resulting in employee overexposure.
  • Maintain chemical inventories.
  • Train workers in forklift operation.
  • Seek manufacturer approval prior to modifying forklifts.
  • Train employees about chemicals in use in the workplace and maintain a chemical inventory.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $119,725.

The company fabricates metal trailers and has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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