Penalties for contractor involved in skid steer operator fatality.
Lindamood Demolition Inc. and Texas Cutting & Coring were both cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a total of five violations, including two willful, following the death of a skid-steer loader operator during the redevelopment of Kyle Field Stadium at Texas A&M University.
OSHA’s December 2013 investigation found that the Lindamood employee was operating a skid-steer loader to support a 3,340-pound concrete stub while a Texas Cutting & Coring employee used a circular saw to cut the stub from its support column. The stub caused the skid-steer to be overloaded, and it tipped over a ramp wall, falling more than 70 feet to the ground. The loader operator was ejected from the skid-steer when the machine struck a horizontal beam during its fall. The employee died when he fell four stories to the ground.
“These experienced contractors failed to provide employees with safe demolition procedures despite concerns from workers,” said Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin. “Employees had to work under the load and directly beside the skid-steer where they could be struck by the equipment or heavy, concrete debris. This disregard for worker safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
A willful citation, with a penalty of $56,000, was issued to Lindamood for exceeding the operating capacity of the skid-steer loader where the equipment was routinely loaded with concrete until obvious signs of tipping were seen. Texas Cutting & Coring was also cited for a willful violation, with a penalty of $63,000, for exposing workers to the hazard of being struck-by the skid-steer loader and concrete. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Lindamood also received a serious citation, with a penalty of $7,200, for two violations concerning a failure to provide effective fall prevention measures and ensure that stop-logs were used to prevent equipment from falling into open holes. Texas Cutting & Coring was also issued one serious citation, with a penalty of $4,500, for failing to provide fall protection. 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.
Due to the willful violation related to this fatality, Lindamood has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program*, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
Lindamood, based in Irving, employs about 80 workers, with 20 at this site. Texas Cutting & Coring, based in Round Rock, employs about 118 workers, with 12 on this demolition project. The proposed penalties total $130,700.
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