PUEBLO, CO – A federal workplace safety investigation into the deaths of two workers buried under a pile of shifting coal at a Pueblo industrial loading facility in June 2022 found that their employer failed to follow required federal standards and did not train workers on safety processes.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned that, as three employees of Savage Services Corp. climbed onto the coal pile to determine if the feeder below was receiving coal, the pile shifted. The falling coal fatally buried two workers and the third employee was able to escape without injury.
OSHA issued citations to Savage Services Corp. – a global provider of industry infrastructure and supply chain services – for one serious violation and two willful violations for failing to implement safe work practices and for not training workers as required. The company faces $304,556 in proposed penalties.
In a similar incident in December 2020, a coal pile collapsed onto a bulldozer at a company facility in New Mexico, trapping an employee inside the machine until their rescue an hour later.
“A near-tragedy at another Savage Services Corp. facility in 2020 made the company acutely aware of the serious hazards for those working around coal piles and yet, two workers’ families, friends and co-workers are now left to grieve,” said OSHA Area Director Chad Vivian in Englewood, Colorado. “With legally required standard safety practices in place and training provided, the company could have prevented this terrible incident.”
Based in Midvale, Utah, Savage Services Corp. has more than 200 locations throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
The corporation 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.
Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and its free help for complying with OSHA standards.