Reynoldsburg, OH – In a fatal workplace accident this month, an employee was crushed between an expandable conveyor belt and a wall of boxes that had been loaded onto a truck at the L Brands facility outside of Columbus (OH).
Two L Brands employees were loading boxes of Bath and Body Works products onto a truck using an expandable conveyor when one became pinned between the machine and the stacked boxes and was crushed. Harvey Beavers was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. OSHA is investigating the fatal workplace accident.
Beavers is reported to have been pinned inside the truck for approximately 10 minutes before he was extricated. CPR was performed, he was transported to the hospital, and later pronounced dead. A co-worker was responsible for placing packages on the conveyer belt into the trailer. That employee reported noticing a red light above the conveyer, signifying a machinery malfunction or stoppage.
According to OSHA, Beavers was pinned facing the wall of boxes with the conveyer pressing into his lower back. The end of the conveyor that was against Beaver’s back contained all controls for moving the conveyer in and out of the trailer, as well as the emergency shut off. With the machine’s controls at his back, Beavers was unable to shut the expandable conveyor down himself and rescuers were forced to spend precious minutes unloading boxes full of product to get to him.
OSHA is actively investigating the fatality. L Brands Inc is a Columbus-based fashion retailer which includes brands like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Rugby, UK – Acenta Steel Limited has been fined £400,000 for a 2016 industrial accident in which a worker’s leg was crushed in the vice of an industrial band saw. An investigation by the local health and safety team discovered that safety guards fitted to the band saw when it was installed at the factory had been removed.
The Rugby Borough Council prosecuted and found that Acenta Steel had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment of operating the machine without safety guards. In a written submission to the investigating officer, Acenta stated the safety guards had been removed from the band saw in order to avoid steel being caught on an overhead gantry and that the machine’s sensor rarely needed cleaning.
However, in the course of the investigation, the prosecution observed that the band saw suffered a sensor fault around four times a year. Acenta had having previously stated it was unaware of the problem which suggested to the prosecution that there was a failure to monitor the machine’s performance.
During the hearing, details of the industrial accident were brought to light. Returning to the factory floor after a break, the worker found the band saw’s warning light flashing red, indicating it had stopped working due to a fault. After consulting with a colleague, the worker believed the machine’s sensor had become blocked by steel filings and he climbed on to the band saw to clear it.
Unfortunately, while clearing the sensor, the worker noticed the machine’s vice had started moving and his leg had become trapped. The worker called out to colleagues for help, but by the time the emergency stop button had been pressed to cut power to the machine he had suffered several fractures to his leg.
Acenta Steel Limited pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Salinas, CA – Growers Street Cooling has agreed to pay $310,000 in costs and civil penalties as a result of legal action brought by the Monterey County District Attorney following a 2013 worker fatality at the Salinas-based produce-cooling company.
The death of Jose Juan Serrano (30) prompted the Monterey County District Attorney to file a worker fatality action against Growers Street Cooling. Serrano was working on a large piece of machinery at the Salinas facility in 2013 when a piece of equipment fell on him.
On the day of his death, Serrano was applying plastic covering to pallets of strawberries. Prosecutors said a portion of a pallet broke off and became lodged, causing the machine to stop automatically. However, Serrano failed to press the emergency-shutoff switch before dislodging the wood, which caused a large counterweight to fall and kill him instantly.
Serrano had been working for Growers Street Cooling as a machine operator for only 16 days prior to the accident. According to the DA, Serrano was assigned to operate a TransFresh Tectrol – a piece of heavy machine which wraps pallets of strawberries in plastic wrap and uses hydraulics to squeeze the strawberry containers in on the pallet for easier shipping and handling. As the compression occurs, a large counterweight on the opposite end balances the machine.
The day Serrano was killed, he was operating the Tectrol machine alone. When a wooden pallet became lodged inside the machine and caused it to jam, Serrano climbed behind the machine and used a crowbar to release the wood. Unfortunately, he did not de-energize, turn off the machine, or perform any lock-out/tag-out procedures. As soon as the jam was cleared, the machine reactivated and a large counterweight crushed him against the wall.
California state law and federal safety standards require businesses using any kind of heavy machinery to train workers in proper lockout/tagout procedures to minimize accidental injury and death. Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, thereby helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. The Monterey DA found that Growers Street Cooling never trained Serrano on lockout procedures before assigning him to operate the machine which killed him.
Additionally, the DA said that Growers Street Cooling did not maintain a written lockout/tagout policy or training program, and charged that they systematically violated worker safety laws. OSHA CFR 29 1910.147 provides regulations on LOTO (LockOut/TagOut) and 25 states have their own approved lockout tagout and worker safety standards. Often times, the most overlooked aspect of a lockout tagout program is failure to provide equipment specific lockout procedures. A general corporate written policy does not meet the requirements of OSHA.
The Monterey County court-ordered injunction requires Growers Street Cooling to maintain and implement written hazardous energy control procedures for all heavy machinery and maintain and implement written training programs for lockout/tagout procedures. Additionally, the Monterey DA ordered the company to conduct annual inspections of its lockout/tagout procedures and not assign employees to operate any machinery unless they are trained about the machine’s hazards. According to the DA, Growers Street Cooling has recently provided proof that compliance is underway.
Toronto, CANADA – Last week, emergency crews were called to the Fiera Foods Company and Bakery factory. There they found a 23-year-old woman in life-threatening condition after being crushed by a machine. The worker was a part-time employee hired from a temp agency, and had been working at the factory for less than a month. A co-worker anonymously reported that the woman was injured after her hijab was caught in a conveyor belt. She died after being transferred to a local hospital.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has since issued six orders for health and safety violations against Fiera Foods including requirements for assessing the conveyor line where the accident occurred, an order to provide an emergency control on the machine, and four other orders around the location and equipment involved in the woman’s death. Fiera is planning to initiate a review of their policies, procedures and safety systems.
Winter Garden, FL – A worker was crushed to death in a recycling compactor accident this week at the Robert Wallick Associates, Inc., located in Winter Garden, FL.
Employee David P. Rossman, 43, was killed Monday when he was cru
shed to death in the compactor at Robert Wallick Associates, Inc – a recycling facility near Orlando. Rossman attempted to clear a jam in a massive cardboard compactor and bundling machine, and then fell into the machine.
He was sorting cardboard using a baler machine when he “somehow ended up inside and got compacted in a stack of cardboard,” said Winter Garden Police Lt. Scott Allen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Fire crews were called to the business at 8:52 a.m. and finally got to the man about 15 minutes later, a spokeswoman said. The cardboard compactor, which was running when the man was found, is at least 12 feet tall, with a 6-foot platform and a ladder needed to reach the top. Police Lt. Allen said there were several other employees working at the time, but none saw the accident.
OSHA will determine if the business was following the appropriate safety measures, and Winter Garden police are investigating this death as an accident.
The recycling center “buys, prepares and ships numerous recyclables to users worldwide.”