Despite available OSHA information, worker fell prey to heat-related sickness
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/19/2012 -- The death of a crew worker for the District of Columbia has resulted in a $6,900 fine levied on Clarksburg, Maryland’s Milling and Paving Company.
The worker was working with a crew on a church parking lot when he became ill due to heat stress. He was rushed to a hospital following the collapse, but was pronounced deceased later that day.
OSHA investigated the incident and cited that LH Musser & Sons Inc. for serious violations of OSHA’s general duty clause.
“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 levied was due to the company’s failure in addressing heat-related hazards that occur during such work and in the particular high-heat surroundings. The employees were tasked with outdoor duties in high heat, and working with asphalt in direct sunlight. According the OSHA, the work/rest regimen required, as well as training on employee recognition of heat-related illness were not met. Appropriate access to water was also noted as a lacking quality.
The title of “serious violation” is invoked when there is a substantial probability of death or seriously harm resulting from an employer’s actions, or lack thereof.
The company was cited for one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality within an eight-hour mandatory window. The title of “other-than-serious” is levied when it is a safety oversight, but did no result or in any way causes the death.
OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in both English and Spanish for workers. Additional information is available on OSHA’s Web sites, and is available to help education and training on recognizing heat-related illness. There is even a free OSHA app that displays the risk level for workers on the heat index, and gives reminders for safety tips. The app is available in English and Spanish.
The paving and milling company has 15 days to comply with the citation.
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