Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Greenville Ready Mix Concrete Products Inc. of Smithfield, Rhode Island could face up to $43K in penalties. The penalties resulted after a worker received a fatal head injury while working on a cement truck back in October of last year. As a result, the company is facing six safety violations.
According to the release, the worker was installing a plate on the chute of the drum on a cement truck. While the plate was being installed, the drum which has mixing fins, started to turn. The fins struck the worker in the head, causing a fatal injury.
Upon investigation, it was determined that the company failed to provide personal fall protection systems and ensure that they were used when performing maintenance on the platform of the cement trucks. The employer also failed to evaluate the work area to determine if the space was a confined area that required permits, and also failed to take appropriate measures to prevent employees from entering the work area. Required danger signs and other means to inform other employees of risks and exposures were also not done.
According to the complaint, the cement company did not create an energy control procedure for electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic sources, nor did they provide employee training and periodic inspections. Additionally lockout procedures were not developed and documented, and used when maintenance was being performed on the cement trucks.
According to a University of Delaware report, the fatal injury rate for cement workers in 2018 was 17 per 100,000 workers with 11 deaths that year attributed to falls, slips, and trips. According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for nonfatal injuries, the cement industry had 3.8 reportable incidents per 100 full-time workers.
Approximately 20 percent of worker deaths occur in the construction industry while construction workers only make up around 6 percent of laborers in the U.S. Additionally, construction industry injuries were 24 percent higher than the averages for all other industries in 2020. Falls, struck by an objects, electrocutions, and caught in or between an object accounts for around 60 percent of all construction fatalities.