OSHA Fines LM Wind Power Following Worker Fatality Investigation

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited LM Wind Power Blades Inc. of Grand Forks, N.D., with five safety violations for exposing workers to fall and crushing hazards that ultimately took one worker's life.

OSHA began an investigation in July following the death of an employee working from a scissor lift who was crushed by a nearby crane. The employer is being cited with one willful, three serious and one other-than-serious citation. Â

‘A worker's life was needlessly lost because the employer failed to identify and eliminate the hazards prior to allowing this employee to perform the work,’ said Tom Deutscher, OSHA's area office director in Bismarck. ‘It's critical for employers to assess conditions before letting work begin.’Â

The alleged willful violation is for failing to ensure employees were adequately protected against struck-by and/or crushing hazards from a nearby crane. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to worker safety and health.Â

The three violations involve failing to use a body belt while on an aerial lift, climbing the guardrails of a scissor lift without fall protection and failing to safely position cranes for maintenance operations. Â

OSHA says a serious citation is issued 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.Â

The other-than-serious violation is for failing to provide adequate warning or ‘out of order’ signs. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a relationship to job safety and health but would not directly cause death or serious physical harm.Â

Proposed penalties total $92,000. Â

When reached for comment, Helle Larsen Andersen, senior manager for communication at LM Wind Power, declined comment other than to say, ‘The safety of our workers is our prime concern.’Â Â

LM Wind Power has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Prior to contesting, they may request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Bismarck, N.D.Â

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Â

SOURCE: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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