Safety and OSHA News

Worker crushed to death on first day on the job

“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth,” said OSHA administrator David Michaels about a 21-year-old temporary worker who was crushed to death his first day on the job. (Updated Feb. 14 with statement from Bacardi.)

OSHA has issued 12 violations to Bacardi Bottling Corp. in connection with the death of Lawrence Davis at the company’s Jacksonville, FL, facility in August 2012. Associated fines total $192,000.

Davis was cleaning glass from under the hoist of a palletizing machine when an employee restarted the palletizer. The machine crushed Davis. OSHA says Bacardi had failed to train temporary employees on using locks and tags to prevent the unexpected start-up of machines and to ensure its own employees used lockout/tagout procedures.

Bacardi was using temporary staffers from Remedy Intelligent Staffing.

“We are seeing untrained workers — many of them temporary workers — killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop,” said Michaels. The OSHA administrator said companies must train all employees, including those who are retained from temporary employment agencies, before they start working.

Of the 12 violations, two were categorized as willful, nine as serious and one as less-than-serious, including:

  • failing to develop, document and use lockout/tagout procedure for the control of potentially hazardous energy (willful)
  • failing to train temporary workers on lockout/tagout procedures (willful)
  • exposing workers to trip, struck-by and fire hazards caused by fixed permanent conveyors that crossed through an aisle (serious)
  • obstructing exits (serious)
  • failing to provide enough lockout/tagout devices (serious)
  • failing to require workers to wear safety goggles and long sleeves when using air guns at 90 pounds per square inch (serious), and
  • storing a mixing tank within 12 inches of an electrical panel box (less-than-serious).

Bacardi has 15 days to respond to the citations and fines. One option is to appeal them to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

(Update Feb. 14): In a statement, Bacardi said it has already addressed or put in place plans that resolve all safety and health matters identified by OSHA. The company disagrees with how OSHA characterized its actions. Bacardi says it conducted additional employee retraining on lockout/tagout, and it completed a review of equipment to prevent a similar incident.

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  1. Mezmerized says:

    This is a story you might expect to have happened at a small company – not an international corporation! The use of “temporary” help compounds the issue. They are brought in to work in unfamiliar environments, and do not necessarily “know” the processes, pitfalls, and potential hazards associated with the operation. Whether full-time or temporary, all workers must have adequate safety training. The additional citation indicate that Bacardi could use a a good safety compliance manager! The fault lies right at the top on this one!

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