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Proper Lockout ‘Could Have Prevented Tragedy’

The employee was clearing scrap below a loading table when the machine lowered onto him and trapped him beneath it.

On June 27th, 2016, 17-year-old Dusty Babcock was critically injured at Columbus, WI-based design and manufacturing company, GD Roberts Manufacturing. Babcock died five days later.

The incident at the metal fabrication company triggered a federal OSHA investigation which has resulted in a slew of safety and health violations.

OSHA investigators determined that Babcock was clearing scrap below a loading table for an operating laser-cutter system when the machine lowered onto him and trapped him beneath it. According to the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen, fire personnel had to use the jaws of life to remove him from a machine.

According to the investigation, GD Roberts, which fabricates metal trailers, failed to ensure that lockout procedures were followed, which could have prevented the accident.

OSHA also said that the company failed to properly train employees on such safety procedures, and hit the company with 17 health and safety violations that resulted in proposed penalties of nearly $120,000.

The agency also found G.D. Roberts failed to:

  • Conduct periodic inspections of machine safety procedures.
  • Affix lockout devices to isolate energy prior to allow employees to enter machine hazard areas.
  • Conduct noise monitoring.
  • Provide employee's audiograms.
  • Train workers about noise hazards.
  • Follow respiratory protection standards such as fit-testing, training and medical evaluations for employees.
  • Evaluate for airborne hazards.
  • Implement engineering controls for dust and other airborne hazard exposure resulting in employee overexposure.
  • Maintain chemical inventories.
  • Train workers in forklift operation.
  • Seek manufacturer approval prior to modifying forklifts.
  • Train employees about chemicals in use in the workplace and maintain a chemical inventory.

"A young man suffered a tragic death shortly after starting a new job, leaving his family to grieve their overwhelming loss," said Ann Grevenkamp, OSHA's area director in Madison in a press release. "Proper lockout devices along with training could have prevented this tragedy."

This is IEN Now with David Mantey.



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