FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – A federal investigation into the death of a 39-year-old maintenance employee found that the two contractors responsible for the job site could have prevented the incident by communicating and following safety rules designed to prevent the unexpected startup of machinery.Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that on Aug. 4, 2023, a worker employed by G & R Mineral Services Inc. – a Birmingham, Alabama-based maintenance and repair contractor who was hired by HM Southeast Cement LLC – was performing repairs on a screw conveyor system mounted on top of a cement silo. Despite the equipment being locked out and de-energized, the employer made the decision to remove the locks temporarily and energize the equipment to rotate the screw conveyor shaft to align the equipment for repair. As a result, the worker was caught in the conveyor and suffered fatal wounds. OSHA cited G & R Mineral for three serious violations for failing to remove employees from areas surrounding unguarded screw conveyors, failing to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy and failing to inform the host employer of their lockout/tagout procedures. The agency proposed $38,715 in penalties for G & R Mineral. The agency also cited HM Southeast Cement for three serious violations and proposed $43,554 in penalties to the employer. OSHA found the employer failed to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy, perform periodic inspections of the energy control procedures to prevent accidental contact with ingoing nip points and rotating parts, and review and coordinate lockout-tagout procedures with its contractor. “This tragedy is a reminder of the importance of properly developed and implemented lockout/tagout procedures,” said OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Employers and contractors must assess the hazards before anyone touches the machinery and must use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent serious injuries or death.”Based in Birmingham, G & R Mineral Services Inc. is a maintenance and repair contractor for plant equipment and employs nearly 100 workers. HM Southeast Cement is a distributor of bulk cement and operates cement silos located at Port Everglades. The company employs nearly 175 workers. The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, 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 for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards

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