OSHA Cites Richmond Hill Service Center Following Fatal Forklift Accident

A Richmond Hill Travel Centers of America franchise has been cited by OSHA for exposing workers to safety hazards that contributed to a fatal forklift accident on Aug. 26. The agency is proposing total penalties of $37,725.

OSHA's investigation found that an employee was reportedly driving a forklift to a parking area when it tipped over, ejecting him from the driver's seat. A section of the forklift cage fell on the driver, causing fatal head injuries.

"Ensuring that drivers are trained to operate forklifts safely and maintaining equipment in safe operating condition are critical to preventing such tragic accidents," said John Deifer, OSHA's Savannah area director.

OSHA issued five serious citations, including two related to the accident: failing to train and evaluate employees assigned to operate forklifts and allowing the operation of defective forklifts. The three other serious citations included failing to provide handrails on steps leading into the service pit area, emergency training, and emergency equipment. The five citations carry proposed penalties totaling $14,225.

OSHA also issued two repeat citations, with $22,500 in total penalties, for exposing employees to fall hazards from unguarded floor openings around service pit areas and failing to train employees in "lockout/tagout" procedures, which render machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair. The agency also assessed a $1,000 penalty for failing to complete a required injury report form.

The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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