OSHA hands down nearly $200,000 in penalties in worker’s death

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Nebraska Prime Group, for 11 safety violations. OSHA opened an inspection after a worker had become caught in a machine at the meatpacking facility in Hastings, Neb., and was asphyxiated in January.

The worker was killed when his clothing got caught in the drive roller of a hide belt. Two related willful violations involve improper machine guarding — which exposes employees to amputation and strangulation hazards — and not supplying sufficient number of lockout devices for all servicing and maintenance employees to secure the energy sources of mechanical equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Nine serious violations involve a failure to:

train workers on protecting themselves from hazards associated with loose clothing around moving equipment;
conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures; properly train workers in energy control procedures;
prevent unauthorized alterations to forklifts;
maintain legible data-plates for forklifts;
train and evaluate the competency of powered industrial truck operators;
keep powered trucks that are in need of repair out of operation;
regularly inspect forklifts;
and correctly use electrical cords and cables

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed penalties total $195,100. The citations can be viewed here.

Hastings Acquisition has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Omaha, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.