In a tragic incident earlier this year, a 19-year-old worker lost their life due to a preventable accident involving a concrete mixer. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation, uncovering serious safety failures by Foley Products Company LLC, a Georgia-based concrete pipe manufacturer.
Company Fined $245,546 Following A Fatality After A Preventable Accident
The accident occurred in Cantonment, Florida, where the young worker suffered fatal injuries after the concrete mixer restarted while they were inside, attempting to clean the machine. The investigation revealed that two employees had entered the mixer initially to remove hardened concrete using a hammer and chisel. Tragically, when one worker left the mixer, the machine unexpectedly restarted, causing the fatal accident.
OSHA inspectors found that the company willfully exposed its workers to hazards related to being crushed by the mixer by allowing them to enter without adhering to proper energy-control procedures. Furthermore, the company neglected to ensure a safe atmosphere inside the mixer before workers entered, exposing them to confined space hazards. The violation also included the failure to have an attendant ready to retrieve workers safely. Additionally, the company was found lacking in providing adequate training to workers about the safe application and removal of energy controls before servicing machines.
Foley Products Company received one willful violation and six serious violations from OSHA. The proposed penalties amount to a staggering $245,546. This tragic and preventable incident serves as a somber reminder of the critical importance of complying with safety and health standards as mandated by law.
Employee Safety Matters
OSHA’s Area Office Director, Jose A. Gonzalez, emphasized the necessity for implementing well-known safety measures, stating that Foley Products Company’s failure to do so resulted in the loss of a young worker’s life, cutting short a promising future. This heartbreaking incident should stand as a strong reminder to businesses of all sizes about the paramount importance of prioritizing and upholding safety and health standards within the workplace.
Foley Products Company, headquartered in Newnan, Georgia, had approximately 30 workers at the Florida worksite during the incident. The company, with about 500 employees, provides services to various agencies and municipalities across Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
This tragic event underscores the critical need for businesses to prioritize and enforce stringent safety measures to protect their workers from avoidable harm. Employers must invest in comprehensive training, implement and enforce safety protocols, and consistently monitor compliance to ensure a safe working environment for all employees. The cost of negligence in workplace safety can be devastating, both in human lives lost and the financial repercussions faced by the business.