CLAYCOMO, Mo. -- The death of a 52-year-old contractor, crushed by a conveyor carriage weighing nearly 4 tons at an automotive assembly plant, could have been averted if his employer followed federal safety standards, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators determined.
In December 2014, a weld failure caused a temporary support safety pin to disengage on an assembly line conveyor carriage at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. The 7,600-pound carriage then fell on the worker.
In its review, federal inspectors cited KCI Inc., which is rebuilding the assembly line at the Ford Motor Co. plant, with one willful safety violation under OSHA's general duty clause. The agency determined that KCI did not provide a workplace free of recognized hazards. OSHA has proposed penalties of $70,000 to the construction company, which employed the deceased worker. The agency also cited Ford for not inspecting the assembly line's construction.
'This worker's death was preventable and a tragic loss for his family,' said Barb Theriot, OSHA's area director in Kansas City. 'KCI and Ford have a responsibility to inspect assembly lines and ensure that workers moving large parts are protected from crushing and struck-by hazards. Employers have an obligation and responsibility to protect their workers.'
OSHA cited the automaker for one serious violation for failing to perform inspections as part of Ford's accident prevention program. Proposed penalties total $7,000.
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Kansas City, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Kansas City Area Office at 816-483-9531.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.