Landscaper’s death ‘easily preventable,’ OSHA says

October 30, 2015 -  By

OSHA_150After a four-month investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found a New York landscaper’s death was “easily preventable” with proper equipment maintenance. The organization proposed a penalty of $70,000.

“This worker’s death was easily preventable. The attachment and use of the required guard for the discharge chute would have kept this hazard from occurring in the first place,” said Michael Scime, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. “Employers should take note of this tragic incident and ensure that required safeguards are in place and in use to protect their employees against injury or death.”

An employee of Perry’s Maintenance, headquartered in Lockport, N.Y., died June 10 after being struck in the back of the head by a rock four days earlier. The rock was shot from the discharge chute of a riding lawn mower near where the man was trimming weeds.

OSHA’s investigation found the following:

OSHA found that the lawn mower’s discharge chute lacked the guard that prevents rocks and other objects from shooting out. The bracket used to attach the discharge chute was broken in 2014 and the company had not repaired or replaced it since. This left employees vulnerable to struck-by injuries. As a result, OSHA cited Perry Maintenance on Sept. 30 for one willful violation of workplace safety standards. The company has contested its citations and penalties to the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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