Safety and OSHA News

Worker killed by train; OSHA issues general duty fine

OSHA has fined a tree trimming company under the General Duty Clause (GDC) in connection with the death of an employee who was struck by a train while walking to a job site.

William Kingrey, 44, died on Dec. 20, 2010, after he was struck by a train while walking across a trestle that crossed a creek in Trenton, NJ. Police say he got caught on the trestle and couldn’t get off it in time before the trains struck him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kingrey was working for Asplundh Tree Experts, clearing brush from around utility poles. Employees had parked their vehicles on one side of the tracks. Kingrey was crossing the tracks with equipment to clear brush.

OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard on workers crossing railroad tracks, so it issued a serious violation of the GDC, saying Asplundh didn’t furnish a place of employment free from recognized hazards. OSHA said the hazard in this case was the possibility of being struck while using an active railroad bridge to access a work area.

OSHA recommended that the company “follow the Asplundh policy as it relates to working on and near railroad operations … and coordinate permission with proper railroad authorities to encroach upon railroad properties.”

One of Asplundh’s specialties is trimming trees around railroad tracks.

The company has 15 days to decide whether to appeal the citation.

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  1. While I KNOW there will always be companies that skimp on safety because of the short term cost and OSHA needs to be there for those companies.

    Will we EVER hold a person resposible for doing something they know they shouldn’t? Most of us have tried putting a penny on the tracks to see what happens and I know I’m not Superman so I’ll lose to the train.

    I would guess that becasue the tracks go somewhere on the other side of the river, there MUST be roads on that side of the tracks! As an employee, we have the RIGHT to refuse to do something if we feel it’s unsafe. We may have to fight for our job back, but EVERY court will uphold the employee’s side (in cases of true safety concerns).

    There’s a song by the Proclaimers, “Everybodies a Victim” and it talks about not being resposible for yourself. It’s sad that songs are being sung making fun of the stupidity of American court system upholding us not thinking through some of the things we do to ourselves.

  2. 1. The employer must not put their employee(s) is harm’s way. They did.
    2. The employee must not put himself in harm’s way. He did.
    3. The employer controls the working conditions. They are at fault in this case.

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