Safety inspectors say a lack of training and safety leadership on a job site contributed to the death of a worker.
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) fined Britton Bridge LLC $16,750 in connection to the death of John Womac, 33, on Jan. 25. The fines include $5,400 for inadequate training.
Womac, a foreman on a bridge construction project, was crushed by the arm of a track hoe, an excavating machine.
Womac and two other workers were in the bed of a pickup truck when the track hoe arm swung and struck him in the head and chest. Womac died an hour later.
The track hoe operator wanted to lock the machine’s arm so it wouldn’t move. He leaned down to hit the lock device on the left floorboard of the cab and accidentally struck the arm’s joystick, causing it to swing toward Womac.
TOSHA says if the machine’s operator knew more about its controls, he could have locked the arm with the flip of a switch on the console. The console contains two such arm lock controls. There was no need to bend over to lock the arm.
The report says when interviewed, the operator was unaware of the two lock controls on the console. He worked for the company for eight years.
The TOSHA investigation found other safety deficiencies at the work site. It said there was a lack of safety leadership. Britton Bridge appeared to have safety programs in place but didn’t follow the programs.
A manager for the company disputed the claims, saying it had a good safety program.