JACKSONVILLE, FLA—A bottling facility in Jacksonville has been cited with numerous federal safety violations following the death of a 21-year-old temporary worker who was killed on his first day on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that the death is representative of a disturbing trend of temporary and untrained workers being killed in the workplace shortly after starting a new job.
According to OSHA, Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer machine at the Bacardi Bottling Corporation’s Jacksonville plant in August 2012. The agency noted that the plant relies on Remedy Intelligent Staffing, a temporary staffing service, to provide laborers for certain types of jobs at the plant.
“We are seeing untrained workers – many of them temporary workers – killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor. “Employers must train all employees, including temporary workers, on the hazards specific to that workplace – before they start working. Had Bacardi done so, this tragic loss of life could have been prevented.”
An OSHA investigation found that Mr. Davis had been cleaning glass from under the hoist of a palletizing machine when a plant employee restarted the palletizer. “Bacardi Bottling failed to train temporary employees on utilizing locks and tags to prevent accidental start-up of machines and to ensure its own employees utilized procedures to lock or tag out machines,” OSHA said in a news release.
“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth,” Dr. Michaels said. “Employers are responsible for ensuring the safe conditions of all their employees, including those who are temporary.”
OSHA cited Bacardi Bottling with 12 safety violations, most of which the agency classified as “serious,” meaning it presents a substantial probability of death or serious injury about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two citations for willful violations, which OSHA classifies as those committed with an intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law or with plain indifference to worker safety and health, were also issued for the plant’s failure to develop, document, and utilize procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy and equipment. The plant also failed to properly train employees about preventing the accidental start-up of machines such as the one that killed Mr. Davis.
Bacardi Bottling was also cited for for exposing workers to trips, struck-by, and fire hazards in critical areas of the plant; obstructing exit routes; exposing workers to falling bottles and debris from overhead conveyors, and electrical shock hazards. The company also failed to conduct an adequate periodic review of the energy control procedures, perform servicing and maintenance on machines and equipment, and require workers to wear safety goggles and long sleeves when using air guns at 90 pounds per square inch, among others.
Proposed penalties for all of the safety violations totalled $192,000.