Safety and OSHA News

Worker crushed to death by 3,000-pound concrete form: $135K OSHA fine

A Wisconsin company faces a $135,804 OSHA fine in connection with a worker’s death in August. A 3,000-pound concrete form fell on the worker and crushed him to death. 

OSHA issued two citations to Huffcutt Concrete of Chippewa Falls:

  • A General Duty Clause willful citation: One of the two hooks on a hoist wasn’t fully fastened in place and was missing a safety latch, causing it to fall on worker Otto Kolpien, crushing and instantly killing him ($126,749), and
  • a serious violation for not conducting a periodic inspection of energy control procedures ($9,055).

Huffcutt has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to pay, enter into talks with OSHA, or contest them to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Huffcutt’s owner says it will cooperate with OSHA, according to

The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department report on the death said some safety measures weren’t followed.

The report says the concrete form was hoisted four to six feet in the air when it came loose and fell on Kolpien. The hoist had two hooks – main and secondary.

“It is believed that a secondary hook was not fully hooked,” according to the report. “This hook also did not have a safety latch which may have been a contributing factor.”

After the concrete form fell on Kolpin, his co-workers had to re-hook it to the hoist to lift it off him. The sheriff’s report says it was obvious Kolpien had died instantly, suffering massive trauma to his head, chest and abdomen.

One note regarding this fine: There’s been no official word from the new Trump administration on whether it intended to use the new, higher OSHA fines that the Obama White House instituted in its last days in office. However, the amount for the willful violation in this case ($126,749) is the new maximum allowed under the Obama administration directive. The new maximum for a serious violation is $12,675.

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