$23K Fine Set in ‘Preventable Tragedy’

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014


Federal authorities are holding a Pennsylvania paving contractor liable for the death of a employee who was killed while inspecting the inside of a tank on an industrial vacuum truck in October.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations for 17 safety violations, nine of them serious, to K. Dolan Construction Corp., of Blairsville, PA. Proposed fines total $23,800.

The death of Edward Ulicne, 45, of Latrobe, PA, was "a terrible, preventable tragedy," said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA's Pittsburgh-area office.

"Employers must ensure that workers are protected from hazards and that procedures are in place to prevent senseless injury or death."

Pinned by Equipment

Ulicne, a laborer, and a foreman were inspecting the tank on Oct. 18. Using the hydraulic controls to the rear door of the tank, the foreman closed the rear door, pinning Ulicne between the door and the frame of the tank.

Ulicne died from his injuries on Oct. 22. His employer failed to report his death, said OSHA.

K. Dolan Corp. bills itself as a "one-solution paving contractor" that offers asphalt maintenance and patching, crack sealing, curing and parking lot striping, and other services.

17 Violations

The nine serious violations allege failure by K. Dolan Corp. to:

  • Establish a lockout/tagout program and procedures to protect workers from moving parts of a machine during service and/or maintenance;
  • Properly guard floor holes (four foot-square holes in the floor were unprotected, OSHA said);
  • Evaluate the vacuum truck to determine if it was a permit required confined space before employees entered it;
  • Train employees expected to use a portable fire extinguisher to fight an incipient-stage fire;
  • Train employees on the safe operation of an industrial forklift; and
  • Anchor a pedestal drill press to the floor.
ConfinedSpace
Wikimedia Commons / Joe Mabel

OSHA accuses the employer of failing to evaluate the tank of the vacuum truck (not pictured) to determine if it was a permit required confined space.

The citation for the floor holes alleges that there were four open foot-square holes in the floor. OSHA standards detail requirements for Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) and Confined Spaces.

A serious violation reflects substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Eight other-than-serious citations were allege that:

  • The company failed to report Ulicne's death;
  • Did not evaluate the worksite for hazards that required the use of personal protective equipment; and
  • Continued use of a defective forklift.

About the Company

K. Dolan was founded in February 2013 when owner and president Keith Dolan bought four asphalt paving companies, according to the contractor's website.

The company did not respond Tuesday (April 22) to a request for comment.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Asphalt; Confined space; Contractors; Fatalities; Health & Safety; OSHA; Striping; Tanks and vessels; Vacuum

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