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OSHA: Bowling Mechanic’s Strangulation Death Preventable

OSHA: Bowling Mechanic’s Strangulation Death Preventable

A 29-year-old Texas man was killed when his shirt collar tangled in a faulty pinsetter.

A 29-year-old man working at a bowling alley in Brownsville, Texas, was killed when his shirt collar tangled in a faulty pinsetter, strangling him as the machine twisted the collar tighter.

Vidal Garcia was working as a part-time mechanic for Galaxy Bowling Center, which employs 40 people, when on March 5, 2015, the tragedy occurred, a place for which he had been employed only four months.

Garcia was doing maintenance on an automatic bowling pinsetter, a machine that picks up and clears fallen pins and sets them for the next bowler, when he was strangled.

After an inspection, OSHA determined that the machine's unguarded, rotating shafts and improper shutdown of a control panel at Galaxy led to Garcia's death. Galaxy was cited on Sept. 2 for 10 serious safety violations and assessed $50,400 in fines.

"Vidal Garcia died in a preventable workplace tragedy," said Michele Shield, OSHA's acting area director in Corpus Christi. "Galaxy Bowling knew the pinsetter had problems, yet employers allowed him to crawl into the machine while it was on to fix it."

OSHA also found that company lacked a program to prevent unintentional operation of machinery during service and maintenance; and the pin rotating shaft and the ball-return mechanisms lacked guards to prevent workers from coming near and catching on operating parts.

TAGS: Safety
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