DRUMMONDS, TN – The death of a 67-year-old worker at a Drummonds worksite in April 2021 might have been prevented had their employer not ignored federal workplace requirements, a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation has found.
Investigators determined the employee of Mississippi Limestone Corp., a Friars Point, Mississippi, concrete products manufacturer and distributor, was trying to repair a rock hopper of a mobile concrete plant when he became engulfed in rock. OSHA cited the company for not evaluating the workplace to determine that spaces – such as the rock hopper – were permit-required confined spaces. Investigators also found the company failed to establish a written permit space program for workers, did not provide employees with adequate training and failed to implement an energy control program for workers conducting maintenance on the concrete batch plant.
In addition, OSHA cited Mississippi Limestone Corp. for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards by not installing a stair rail system on the open side of the batch plant. Mississippi Limestone also failed to train and evaluate each powered industrial truck operator, and to remove unsafe vehicles from service as required.
Mississippi Limestone faces $118,200 in proposed penalties.
“Mississippi Limestone’s failure to comply with safety and health requirements exposed workers to life-threatening hazards that led to the loss of a man’s life,” said OSHA Area Director William Cochran in Nashville, Tennessee. “Putting workers’ safety and health in jeopardy should never be an option. OSHA will hold employers accountable and ensure they meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job.”
In addition to the citations for Mississippi Limestone, OSHA issued a notice to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with one serious violation for exposing workers to amputation, asphyxiation and crushing hazards by failing to ensure confined space entry was allowed only through compliance with a permit-required confined space program. A notice for a second serious violation was issued to the Corps for failing to ensure outside personnel were informed of their respective energy control procedures.
Based in Friars Point, Mississippi Limestone Corp. manufactures concrete products and distributes limestone, sand and gravel. The company performs contract-based concrete product manufacturing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maintain supplies of articulated concrete mattresses, used for erosion control in connection with the Mississippi River Corps of Engineers Channel Improvement program.
Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must comply with the same safety and health standards as private sector employers covered under the OSH Act. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the Notice of Unsafe and Unhealthful Working Conditions, commonly called “the notice.” The OSHA notice is used to inform establishment officials of violations of OSHA standards, alternate standards and 29 Code of Federal Regulations citable program elements. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with OSHA standards.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.