OSHA Cites Fla., Mich. Companies Following Investigation of Fatal Accident

May 23, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Lake Michigan Contractors Inc. (LMC), Holland, Mich., and Kauff’s of Fort Pierce Inc. following the investigation of an accident at Sailfish Point Hutchinson Island, Stuart, Fla.

One Kauff’s employee was killed and an LMC employee was seriously injured Nov. 21 when they were struck by falling pipes to be used during a beach refurbishment project.

“Both employers were aware that pipes had shifted during transport to the job site and could fall and strike workers assigned to unload them from the trailer,” said Luis Santiago, OSHA’s Ft. Lauderdale area director. “However, they took no measures to eliminate the hazard.”

OSHA issued one willful citation to Lake Michigan Contractors, with a proposed penalty of $49,000, for operating a front-end loader with defective brakes. The company also received six serious citations, with total proposed penalties of $19,250, for failure to use restraining devices while operating heavy equipment; allowing employees to stand under unstable loads; and failing to protect workers from vehicular traffic, provide personal protective equipment – hard hats and safety shoes – and implement a safety inspection program. An additional citation, with a proposed penalty of $700, was issued for failing to maintain current injury records.

Kauff’s received four serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $12,600, for failing to implement a safety inspection program, protect workers from vehicular traffic and provide personal protective equipment.

The companies have 15 business days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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