OSHA has fined two companies in connection with the death of a worker when he was repairing a machine. The agency says the companies exposed a second employee to the same hazards that killed the worker one day after the death.
Stephen Rauth, 38, had been making repairs in a concrete mixing tower at the Ready Mix Batch Plant owned by Nuvo Construction Co. in Milwaukee on May 22.
The Milwaukee Fire Department says Rauth was on a conveyor that feeds a hopper and was crushed.
The Medical Examiner’s report said a chute that rotated when a hopper got low on product likely moved, trapping Rauth against a malfunctioning bin rail and a large machine part.
The following day, an employee for another company, Sonag Ready Mix, completed repairs to the bin sensor that Rauth was trying to fix.
OSHA says both times the machine wasn’t turned off before service and maintenance started. The Sonag employee was exposed to the same hazard that killed Rauth just one day later, according to OSHA.
For that reason, OSHA issued three violations against both companies:
- a willful violation for failure to implement and use required safety procedures ($70,000 for each company)
- a serious violation for failure to de-energize plant equipment before maintenance ($7,000 for each company), and
- a serious violation for failure to train workers on procedures to lock out energy sources ($7,000 for each company).
In a statement, Nuvo said it would be “moving forward with the appeals process,” regarding the OSHA fines.
“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.”