In one three-state region of the U.S., 15% of all workplace fatalities in the last five years have been caused by struck-by incidents – usually a vehicle hitting a worker who is on foot. One such recent fatality has resulted in a five-figure OSHA fine.
A worker was fatally injured after being struck by a front-end loader hauling hay at Double Dutch Dairy near Shelby, NE on June 17. OSHA investigated and found the driver’s view was obstructed.
OSHA issued four serious safety violations to Double Dutch:
- Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards
- Employees weren’t trained in safe equipment operation
- Employees weren’t required to use seat belts, and
- The company failed to develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program to train workers about hazardous chemicals.
OSHA has proposed a total of $22,500 in fines.
The Polk County Attorney identified the victim as Robinson Lopez, 24, who died the day of the accident at a health center, according to JournalStar.com.
OSHA has launched a regional outreach initiative in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers to prevent struck-by injuries and fatalities.
Some strategies to prevent these injuries:
- Ensure backup alarms are functional
- Walk around a vehicle before operating it
- Obey all traffic rules and signs
- Inspect and maintain all vehicles
- Use seat belts, and
- Use headlights.
OSHA also recommends training to teach workers about vehicle limitations and potential obstructions.
Educational materials called “Evaluate Your Entire Surroundings” (EYES) are available in both English and Spanish from OSHA.
Double Dutch has 15 business days from the time it receives the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.