The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the November 2, 2021 incident at TJ Campbell Construction Company. During the incident, a young worker was removing debris from a conveyor belt when he was pulled into a hot asphalt silo. The worker died as a result.
The OSHA investigation found that the company failed “to develop and use procedures for controlling hazardous energy when servicing or cleaning the asphalt conveyor system, and not training workers adequately on requirements for controlling hazardous energy.” Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple other citations, including:
- 29 CFR 1910.28(b)(3)(i): The employer did not ensure each employee is protected from falling through any hole (including skylights) that is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level by one or more of the following: covers, guardrail systems, travel restraint systems, or personal fall arrest systems, as required by sub-items A through D of this section.
- 29 CFR 1910.147(d)(4)(i): Lockout or tagout devices were not affixed to each energy isolating device by authorized employees.
- 29 CFR 1910.219(d)(1): Pulley(s) with part(s) seven feet or less from the floor or work platform were not guarded in accordance with the requirements specified in 29 CFR 1910.219(m) and (o).
- 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i): Procedures were not developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees were engaged in activities covered by this section.
- 29 CFR 1910.147( c)(7)(i)(A): Authorized employee(s) did not receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation.
As a result of the numerous citations, OSHA fined the company $370,347.00.
It goes without saying that companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their contractors and employees. It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies. Of course, the policies and procedures must be adequately implemented to guarantee everyone’s safety. It is more than merely having a written down procedure, companies must ensure that their workers understand and follow what has been developed.
One of the means to ensure incidents like this do not happen is through lockout/tagout procedures to control the release of hazardous energy. OSHA provides guidelines in how to implement a lockout/tagout procedure. OSHA also has an online tutorial to assist companies with proper training. OSHA explains:
Workers performing service or maintenance on machinery and equipment are exposed to injuries from the unexpected energization, startup of the machinery or equipment, or release of stored energy in the equipment.
The Lockout/Tagout standard requires the adoption and implementation of practices and procedures to shut down equipment, isolate it from its energy source(s), and prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy while maintenance and servicing activities are being performed. It contains minimum performance requirements, and definitive criteria for establishing an effective program for the control of hazardous energy. However, employers have the flexibility to develop lockout/tagout programs that are suitable for their respective facilities.
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