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

Maintenance employee suffers multiple fractures in fall

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Employer name: VCNA Prairie Inc. operating as Prairie Material, Bridgeview, Illinois

Citations issued: Sept. 29, 2015

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's North Aurora Area Office cited the company for eight serious safety violations. OSHA initiated an inspection April 14, 2015, after a 28-year-old worker relining a concrete dump hopper fell 17 feet through the hopper's opening, suffering several fractures.

Inspectors found workers were exposed to permit-required confined space hazards because the company failed to:

  • Use proper equipment for entry and exit.
  • Use a retrieval system.
  • Have an attendant present during entry into confined spaces.
  • Post warning signs.
  • Issue permits to enter such spaces.

Many workplaces have confined spaces not necessarily designed for people, but large enough for workers to enter and perform jobs, such as maintenance and repair. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. The company also failed to provide a scaffold for the employee to work from and a railing around the mixer dump hopper.

Quote: 'It can be lethal to allow workers to enter hoppers and other confined spaces without proper equipment and an attendant. Confined spaces can restrict employee's movement and subject workers to air that lacks oxygen or may be toxic or combustible,' said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in North Aurora. 'This company needs to make immediate improvements to its procedures for entering such spaces to ensure no one else is injured on the job.'

Proposed Penalties: $51,000

View Citations here*.

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