U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Aerial lift collapses, worker plummets at railcar facility

OSHA cites GBW Railcar Services for not providing safe platform

WOOD RIVER, Ill. -- A 55-year-old carman fell more than 12 feet to the ground after his aerial lift collapsed. The worker had been standing on an elevated platform to install a canopy on a railcar, but the platform could not support his weight.

Following an inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that his employer, GBW Railcar Services LLC, did not provide a safe platform for the employee. The agency issued citations to the company on Sept. 22 for two willful, one repeated, two serious and one-other-than serious safety and health violation. OSHA proposed $109,000 in penalties as a result of the investigation into the March 23, 2015, injury at the Wood River facility.

'Falls from this height can be fatal, but this worker beat the odds. Lucky for him, he suffered only minor injuries when the platform gave way,' said Aaron Priddy, OSHA's area director in Fairview Heights. 'GBW Railcar needs to review its safety procedures for elevated platforms, fall protection and other hazards to ensure workers are unharmed.'

OSHA's inspection also found that the company exposed workers to multiple electrical hazards, including damaged equipment and opened electrical boxes. GBW also failed to train employees on procedures to prevent contact with energized electrical parts while conducting service and maintenance, and to provide OSHA with required injury and illness reports.

To view citations see: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20151875a.pdf* and

OSHA cited GBW Railcar Services for 11 serious safety violations at its Cummings, Kansas, facility in December 2014 after seven workers were injured when gas vapors exploded in a railcar.

GBW Railcar Services is a joint venture of Oregon-based Greenbrier Companies Inc. and Kansas-based Watco Companies LLC, which operates more than 40 facilities nationwide and employs more than 2,100 people to perform repair, maintenance and recertification services for railcars. Approximately 130 workers are employed in Wood River.

GBW Railcar Services has contested the findings and will appear 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 Fairview Heights Area Office at 618-632-8612.

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.

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