Personal Injury

Asphalt company fined after worker death in slat/drag conveyor

worker safety equipment 375x210 Asphalt company fined after worker death in slat/drag conveyorWestern Engineering Company Inc., was fined $89,032 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), following an investigation into the death of an employee.

The accident occurred Nov. 7, 2018, when employee Andrew Martinez, 28, was pulled into an unguarded slat/drag conveyor at the company’s North Platte, Nebraska asphalt plant. He was found dead and pinned inside the machine.

Western Engineering Company was slapped with seven serious violations of machine guarding, lockout/tagout and permit-required confined space standards, including failing to develop a confined space entry program; issue safety permits; test atmospheric conditions; and provide air testing and monitoring equipment.

“Employers are required to develop safety and health programs that address known hazards and ensure that safety procedures are followed to prevent tragedies such as this from recurring,” said OSHA Omaha Area Office Director Jeff Funke.

One in five worker deaths in 2017 were in the construction industry. Being caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects is among the so-called Fatal Four accidents reported, according to OSHA.

Many of these workplace deaths are preventable. Failure to guard machinery and follow general safety requirements was also one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in the fiscal year 2018.

Falls, struck by object, and electrocutions are also considered among the Fatal Four accidents that take construction workers’ lives. “Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 582 workers’ lives in America every year, “ OSHA said.