LH Musser & Sons, Clarksburg, Md., has been cited and fined $6,900 for one serious violation of OSHA’s general duty clause following a heat-related fatality in June. OSHA initiated an inspection after an employee who was performing paving operations in the parking lot of a church became ill from heat stress and was taken to a hospital, where he died.
“This tragedy underscores the need for employers to ensure that workers have frequent access to water, rest and shade to prevent heat illness and injuries during the hot summer months, and also why it is important that workers are trained to recognize and respond to the signs of heat-related illness,” said Robert Szymanski, acting director of OSHA’s Baltimore/Washington Area Office.
The violation involves failing to provide a program addressing heat-related hazards in the workplace. In this case, the workplace was the outdoors, where employees performed duties involving hot asphalt in direct sunlight. The employer did not maintain a work/rest regimen, train employees on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses as well as on methods of prevention, and ensure that employees consumed adequate amounts of water. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company also was cited for one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality to OSHA within eight hours. 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.