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US Department Of Labor's OSHA Cites Werner Construction After Worker Fatally Struck By Front-End Loader

Werner Construction Inc. has been cited for three safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a maintenance worker was fatally injured after being struck by a front-end loader.

The worker became pinned between the loader and a semitrailer. The 35-year-old full-time employee died of his injuries on Sept. 14, 2013.

"Struck-by hazards continue to be one of the leading causes of injury to workers. OSHA has investigated 37 cases in the past six years in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident in the Kansas City Region alone," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers must train their workers to identify the potential for such hazards and take necessary precautions to prevent them."

Werner Construction was issued two serious citations involving operating the front end loader which had not received required servicing of safety features and failing to have someone adequately trained to administer first aid when medical treatment was not near the workplace. 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 other-than-serious citation involved failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment for personal protective equipment. 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. OSHA has proposed fines of $14,000.

In addition, OSHA has issued Werner Construction a hazard-alert letter because workers were exposed to being crushed when working around the front end loader which was being used to hold heavy materials in place. This letter is used to alert employers of potential hazard exposure and provide recommendations to protect the workers. Hastings, Neb.-based Werner Construction Inc. was last investigated by OSHA in 2009 after a worker was fatally injured while operating a paving machine.

In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace.

Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. Because of this, OSHA is continuing its regional outreach initiative in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers about preventing such accidents.

Causes of struck-by accidents typically involve reverse vehicle movement into a pedestrian outside the driver's field of vision, or vehicles falling off ramps, inclines or unstable ground. 

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