Crushing death at plant leads to OSHA citation, fine

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety
The death of a worker who was crushed by granite slabs at a Marlborough, Mass., workplace has resulted in $55,300 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA cited ASI/Massachusetts Stone Fabrication & Supply, a manufacturer of granite countertops located at 894 Boston Post Road, for 15 alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

On Oct. 3, 2005, two workers were attempting to move a 6-foot by 10-foot granite slab stored between several other granite slabs when the slabs fell on the workers, killing one and injuring the other. OSHA's inspection found that the company failed to provide a workplace free from recognized crushing hazards due to improper storage of the stone slabs and did not train the workers to properly handle and move the slabs.

"Proper training and storage are critical to protect workers because of the size and weight of these granite slabs," said Francis Pagliuca, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties. "The lack of these and other safeguards at this workplace leave its workers exposed to death and serious injury from crushing, fire, electrical and other hazards."

Additional crushing hazards identified during the inspection stemmed from the company's failure to inspect cranes, hoisting devices and wire rope slings for defects, a missing safety latch on a load hook, unmarked load ratings for granite slab storage racks, and defective wire rope slings.

Other hazardous conditions at the workplace included obstructed and unmarked exits; no fire extinguisher training; fall and tripping hazards from an unguarded floor hole; fire and electrocution hazards from a severely frayed extension cord used to power a compressor; crane defects; an unguarded flywheel; and no complete and accurate assessment of workplace hazards to determine what personal protective equipment workers needed.

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