CLEVELAND -- – A 45-year-old machine operator was fatally crushed while he adjusted a set screw on a rolling mill at Cleveland Track Material on Aug. 21, 2014. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found workers were exposed to dangerous rotating machinery parts at the facility that rolls steel for railroad industry use. Seven serious violations have been issued as a result of the investigation.
'A son lost his father, and a wife lost her husband,' said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. 'This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer implemented basic safety precautions associated with dangerous machinery.'
OSHA's inspection found that the lead rolling mill operator, who had been employed at Cleveland Track Materials for 16 years, came in contact with a spinning shaft. He suffered fatal blunt force trauma and injuries related to crushing as a result.
The company failed to ensure the worker was protected against contact with rotating parts, chains and sprockets and that machines were properly guarded and locked out prior to maintenance. Additionally, employees were inadequately trained on these procedures. These violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA at manufacturing plants.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
OSHA has proposed fines totaling $49,000.
Cleveland Track Material, a subsidiary of Vossloh North America, is based in Reading, Pennsylvania. The company employs about 250 workers at manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Reading and Memphis, Tennessee.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-447-4194.
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.