U.S. Department of Labor Cites Dredging Manufacturer after Investigation into Worker’s Death

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Dredging Manufacturer after Investigation into Worker’s Death

OSHA investigation finds that safety procedures could have prevented the tragedy.

On January 27, 2021 a preventable death took place in Mobile, AL. A 22-year-old, who was new on the job, died from a crane bridge accident 30 feet in the air. He was caught in the crane trolley’s drive shaft. Federal inspectors say this tragedy could have been prevented. A part of the five-man team employed by SPI/Mobile Pulley Works Inc. to repair a 50-ton hoist, the Alabama resident was guiding a heavy steel cable to ensure workers were removed from the structure of the crane or out of its path when it was operating.

According to a press release, OSHA’s inspection led to 11 serious and two other-than-serious violations for the Mobile-based dredging manufacturer. Inspectors found the company failed to provide a workplace free from hazards and exposed employees to caught-in and crushed-by hazards that would most likely cause death or serious harm. The press release states, OSHA identified the following violations:

  • Allowed employees to work near unguarded equipment, which exposed them to struck-by and caught-in hazards
  • Failed to conduct periodic inspections of the crane
  • Exposed workers to respiratory hazards by requiring employees to wear half-mask negative pressure respirators without proper fit tests and did not provide training on respirator use to minimize the number of employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica
  • Failed to provide proper training on fall protection systems, exposing workers to fall hazards
  • Failed to inspect alloy steel chain slings used for rigging

OSHA proposed $89,141 in penalties.

“Heavy industrial work can be hazardous and employers must follow workplace safety standards to avoid serious injuries and, in this case, tragedy,” said OSHA Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “The terrible loss for this young man’s family and friends is deepened by the knowledge that this incident could have been prevented.”

Learn more about crane, derrick and hoist safety, fall and respiratory protection.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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