OSHA Cites Contractor After Death of a Minor

December 23, 2014

A 16-year-old laborer was fatally struck by the swinging cab and boom of a crane being disassembled by Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading Division at a construction site in Delta, Mo., on June 18, 2014. An OSHA investigation found the crane operator was unaware that the teen was directed to stand in an inadequately marked danger zone. The teen also was not provided required protective headgear. OSHA cited the company for 13 serious safety violations and has proposed penalties of $44,730.

“This is a tragic death involving a teenager who should not have been allowed to work on the job site. Clearly, the law prohibits children from being involved in the disassembly of heavy-duty construction machinery,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “Robertson Incorporated Bridge has a responsibility to train workers in hazards, adequately mark hazardous operations areas and provide competent supervision and protective equipment.”

In addition to the struck-by hazard that resulted in this young man’s death, OSHA’s investigation found a lack of employee hazard recognition training contributed to the fatality. The company also failed to document required inspections of the crane’s wire rope and hook.

OSHA found multiple safety violations that included worker exposure to fall hazards of nearly 7 feet from unguarded machine platforms and failure to implement procedures, such as machine guarding that protects workers from contacting operating machinery parts, exposing workers to serious amputation risks and hazards. These violations are among the most frequently cited violations by OSHA and put workers at risk for amputation and injuries. Robertson Incorporated Bridge also failed to inspect portable fire extinguishers or train employees in their use.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division also assessed civil money penalties of $11,000 for violating Hazardous Order Number 7, which prohibits minors under age 18 from operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven hoists.

Robertson Incorporated Bridge 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.