Federal safety inspectors have uncovered a dozen dangerous workplace conditions at Bacardi Bottling in Jacksonville after a temporary employee was killed on his first day on the job.
The 21-year-old worker, who had been supplied by a temporary staffing service, was crushed to death by a palletizer machine in August 2012.
In a news release, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels stated that, “A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth. Employers are responsible for ensuring the safe conditions of all their employees, including those who are temporary.”
Following a site investigation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on February 11 cited Bacardi Bottling Corp. with 12 alleged safety violations—including exposing workers to potentially deadly hazards and failing to provide proper training.
According to an OSHA news release, the worker was cleaning glass from underneath the hoist of a palletizing machine when an employee restarted the palletizer. Unfortunately, Bacardi Bottling was unable to train temporary employees on how to utilize tags and locks in order to prevent machines from accidentally starting, and was unable to ensure that its own employees utilized procedures to lock or tag out these machines.
Two willful citations that have been issued are for the company’s failing to develop, document and utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy, and for the company’s failing to train temporary workers on lockout/tagout procedures.
A violation that is committed with knowing, intentional, or voluntary disregard for the requirements of the law or with plain indifference to worker health and safety is known as a willful violation.
Other violations identified by OSHA include:
- Electrical shock hazards
- Obstructing exit routes
- Exposing workers to falling bottles and debris from overhead conveyors
- Exposing workers to trips, struck-by and fire hazards and dangers where permanent or fixed conveyors crossed through the aisle
- Failing to conduct an adequate periodic review of energy control procedures
- Failing to require workers to wear safety goggles and long sleeves when using air guns
Michaels stated that untrained workers—many of them temporary workers—are killed soon after starting a new job, and that this must stop. Employers must be responsible for training all their employees before they start working—including temporary workers—on the hazards specific to a particular workplace. He believes that had Bacardi done so, then the loss of life could have been prevented.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration