OSHA has cited Cleveland Track Material for seven serious violations after a machine operator died in a workplace accident on Aug. 21.
Elbert Woods, 45, was crushed to death while adjusting a set screw on a rolling mill.
OSHA’s post-accident investigation found that workers were exposed to dangerous rotating machinery parts at the Cleveland facility, which rolls steel for railroad-industry use. The agency is proposing $49,000 in fines.
“A son lost his father, and a wife lost her husband,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. “This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer implemented basic safety precautions associated with dangerous machinery.”
Woods, who had been employed at Cleveland Track Materials for 16 years, came in contact with a spinning shaft, and suffered fatal blunt-force trauma and crushing injuries as a result, according to the agency. Woods was the lead rolling-mill operator.
The company allegedly failed to ensure that Woods was protected against contact with rotating parts, chains and sprockets and that machines were properly guarded and locked out prior to maintenance. Additionally, the company failed to properly train employees on the procedures, according to OSHA.
OSHA noted that the alleged violations are among the most frequently cited by the agency at manufacturing plants.
Cleveland Track Material, a subsidiary of Vossloh North America, is based in Reading, Pa. The company employs about 250 workers at manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Reading and Memphis, Tenn.
The company has 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply or contest OSHA’s findings.