Two employers cited by US Labor Department following the death of a 39-year-old worker at a work site in Fort Lauderdale.

A federal investigation into the death of a maintenance employee revealed that G & R Mineral Services and HM Southeast Cement failed to communicate and follow safety procedures, resulting in the tragic incident. On August 4, 2023, a 39-year-old worker employed by G & R Mineral Services was performing repairs on a screw conveyor system at a cement silo. Despite the equipment being locked out and de-energized, the employer decided to temporarily remove the locks and energize the equipment to rotate the screw conveyor shaft for repair. This decision led to the worker getting caught in the conveyor and suffering fatal injuries.

OSHA found that both G & R Mineral Services and HM Southeast Cement were at fault for the incident. G & R Mineral Services was cited for three serious violations, including failure to remove employees from areas surrounding unguarded screw conveyors, failure to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy, and failure to inform the host employer of their lockout/tagout procedures. The agency proposed $38,715 in penalties for G & R Mineral Services. HM Southeast Cement was also cited for three serious violations and faced $43,554 in penalties for failure to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy, perform periodic inspections of energy control procedures, and review and coordinate lockout/tagout procedures with their contractor.

OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond emphasized the importance of properly developed and implemented lockout/tagout procedures, stating that employers and contractors must assess hazards and use these procedures to prevent serious injuries or death. G & R Mineral Services, a maintenance and repair contractor with nearly 100 employees, and HM Southeast Cement, a distributor of bulk cement with almost 175 employees, have 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers can visit OSHA’s website for resources on developing workplace safety and health programs and can contact the agency for free assistance with complying with OSHA standards. It is crucial for companies to prioritize safety and ensure effective communication and implementation of safety procedures to prevent tragic incidents like this one.  

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