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Warehouse Worker Crushed by 3-Tons of Granite

What was particularly troubling was that the company actually made modifications to the fork truck.

Headquartered in Anaheim, CA, Nidi Tec imports and distributes natural stone products. The company also has a warehouse in Denver, and on January 29, 2016, OSHA opened an investigation of the warehouse after fractured granite slabs weighing a combined 6,500 pounds fell and killed an employee as he set the slabs on an A frame rack with a fork truck.

Yesterday, OSHA announced that it had cited the company $88,900 in proposed penalties after its investigators issued two willful, two repeat, and seven serious violations.

The willful violations stem from exceeding the fork truck's rated capacity. What was particularly troubling was that the company actually made modifications to the fork truck by placing a container of granite slab pieces onto the tail of a Hyster model S120HL powered industrial truck to act as a counterweight.

The two repeat violations were issued for making modifications to the fork lift without the manufacturer's approval, and for using wire rope slings that were not labeled properly with the lifting capacities.

The seven serious violations include not protecting workers from crushing hazards, improper storage (of both the stone and the propane fuel used by the trucks), a lack of training, inspection, communication, and using defective wire rope slings.

In a release, Herb Gibson, OSHA's Area Director in Denver said, "Handling of granite slabs is a well-known hazard in the industry, yet Nidi Tec did not take simple measures which could have avoided a tragedy and an employee's preventable death. Crushing incidents can happen quickly and employers need to evaluate material handling operations."

Nidi Tec has 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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