OSHA Cites Paving Contractor After Worker Death

April 22, 2014

OSHA has cited K. Dolan Corp of Blairsville, Pa., with 17 safety violations, including nine serious, following the Oct. 22, 2013 death of a worker.

Laborer Edward M. Ulicne and a foreman were inspecting the inside of a vacuum tank on an industrial vacuum truck at the contractor’s facility on Oct. 17. While operating the hydraulic controls to the rear door of the tank, the foreman closed the rear door, pinning Ulicne between the door and frame of the tank.

"This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of following OSHA's standards to control hazardous energy by implementing a lockout program to protect workers who service or maintain machines," said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA's Pittsburgh Area Office. "Employers must ensure that workers are protected from hazards and that procedures are in place to prevent senseless injury or death."

The nine serious violations included K. Dolan Corp.'s failure to: establish a lockout/tagout program and procedures to protect workers from moving parts of a machine during servicing and/or maintenance activities; properly guard floor holes; evaluate the vacuum truck to determine if a permit required confined space before employees entered it; train employees expected to use a portable fire extinguisher to fight an incipient stage fire; train employees on the safe operation of an industrial forklift; and anchor a pedestal drill press to the floor. 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.

Eight other-than-serious citations were also cited, and included: the employer's failure to report the death of a worker; the workplace not being evaluated to determine if hazards were present and necessitated the use of personal protective equipment; and the continued use of a defective forklift despite it not being in safe operating condition. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties total $23,800. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Pittsburgh, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.