After a worker at the Detroit marine terminal was fatally injured by a forklift in November 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted a follow-up investigation of Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. Based on the issues they found there, OSHA placed the company in their Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. was charged with nine citations overall – two willful and seven safety violations.
The two willful violations were both issued for improper forklift procedure: the first for modifying a forklift without obtaining manufacturer approval, and the second citation for failing to establish vehicle routes and traffic rules, as well as failing to post signs indicating pedestrian traffic in employee work spaces.
Five of the safety violations were also related to lapses in forklift safety, including failure to:
- train employees on operating instructions, warnings and precautions listed in the operator's manual
- maintain vehicles in safe working order
- direct employees to sound the horn when visibility was obstructed
- conduct monthly crane inspections
- test cargo gear for load capacity
According to Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Lansing, the worker’s death was a tragic accident that could have been avoided.
"Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. has a responsibility to train its workers in the safe operation of dangerous equipment, and a worker tragically lost his life because this company failed to live up to that responsibility," Johnson stated. "A worker's life should never be the cost of doing business."
The proposed fines for the OSHA sanctions total $168,700. Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. has 15 business days from the date of citation to comply with the penalties, or they have the option to request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director. The company could also choose to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Lawyers That Handle Workers Comp in Ohio
Struck-by injuries involving heavy machinery are one of the leading causes of workplace deaths. If you are a factory or warehouse worker who was injured by heavy machinery, call Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC to discuss your case. Our experienced legal team can help you get fair compensation for any workplace injury.
[Did You Know:
OSHA predicts that forklift accidents cause about 85 fatalities per year.]
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys