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Concrete Maker Blamed in Ash Engulfment

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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Federal safety authorities are holding a major Midwestern ready mix producer responsible for the death of a plant operator who was buried in a storage silo full of fly ash.

Tim Taylor, 39, of New Carlisle, OH, sank into the silo at Central Ready Mix LLC in Middletown, OH, just before 6 p.m. Aug. 6 and became trapped in 8,000 pounds of fly ash. Rescue crews worked for four hours to pull him out, but he suffocated.

9ABC screen grab

Responders worked four hours to free Tim Taylor from the silo. He was asphyxiated.

This week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 10 serious citations and $55,800 in fines against Central Ready Mix, calling the accident a "terrible, preventable tragedy."

10 Serious Violations

OSHA said Taylor, a 14-year employee of the company, had entered the silo to break up clumps of ash that were clogging the bottom discharge. They said he had "devoted several hours" to the task inside the silo after he was unable to dislodge the clumps from outside.

Taylor was not wearing a harness or lanyard inside the silo, OSHA said.

The 10 serious violations allege multiple violations of confined-space entry requirements, including failing to:

  • Evaluate a workplace for permit-required confined spaces;
  • Develop a written permit space entry program, including signage;
  • Create measures to prevent unauthorized entry;
  • Provide necessary equipment;
  • Train workers on procedures; and
  • Develop a permit issuance system and procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services.
Central Ready Mix

Central Ready Mix is a major producer of ready-mixed concrete and construction aggregates in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

Other violations allege failure to :

  • Ensure workers use harnesses with retrieval lines attached;
  • Address unsafe catwalks;
  • Correct an unguarded floor hole in the silo catwalk; and
  • Use flexible electrical cords properly.

Serious violations reflect a "substantial probability" of death or serious injury.

Engulfment Dangers

"Engulfment is one of the six major hazards present in silo-type storage facilities," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati.

"Employers can't be assured that entries into a silo without incident will occur. This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of complying with safety precautions, such as using harnesses and lanyards.

Central Ready Mix

Plant operator Tim Taylor perished at Central Ready Mix's facility in Middletown, OH.

"Employers are responsible for identifying hazards and ensuring workers follow proper procedures to prevent injury or death."

Confined-Space Protection

OSHA's permit-required confined-space standard establishes procedures to protect workers who must enter, work in, or exit spaces with configurations that hinder their activities. The agency notes that the configuration of such spaces may increase workers' exposure to hazards, such as entrapment, engulfment and/or hazardous atmospheric conditions.

Central Ready Mix has 15 business days to respond to the citations. The company did not immediately reply Tuesday (Dec. 3) to a request for comment.

OSHA records show that Central Ready Mix was cited for 12 violations, including confined-space hazards, in August 2011 at its plant in Columbus, OH. That case, prompted by a complaint, has tentatively been reduced to three serious and two other-than-serious violations and fines totaling $15,300.


Tagged categories: Coal ash; Concrete; Confined space; Construction; Fall protection; Ready Mix

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