Paint Company Cited After Employee Death


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Valmont Coatings following the investigation of an employee’s death in Oklahoma.

According to the press release, Valmont Coatings is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with 35 facilities in seven countries. It is a subsidiary of Valmont Industries, Inc., and does business with more than 23 countries, operating 80 manufacturing facilities to produce engineered support structures, coatings, irrigation and utility support structures.

About the Citation

The hot-dip galvanizing and applied coatings service provider has been cited by OSHA for one willful and five serious violations, with a proposed $202,000 in penalties.

The investigation found that the company failed to use proper rigging equipment and perform inspections and maintenance on cranes. OSHA reports that a 19-year-old worker was attaching multiple small steel I-beams to a large lifting fixture when the entire assembly fell on him.

“Equipment used to lift or move heavy parts must be inspected regularly and kept in good condition or removed from service to avoid worker injuries or fatalities,” said OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby in Oklahoma City. “This employer's failure to do so cost a young worker his life.”

OSHA reports that Valmont, locally doing business as Oklahoma Galvanizing, also exposed workers to slip and trip hazards near hot-dip tanks and failed to provide required emergency showers and eyewash stations.

Valmont has 15 business days from the receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA Slips, Trips & Fall Prevention

Several years ago, federal workplace safety regulators published a final rule in the Federal Register regarding slip, trip and fall hazards for general industry.

The rule—which updates the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Walking-Working Surfaces standard and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems—is aimed at increasing consistency between general and construction industries, helping to clarify issues for employers and employees who work in both, according to the agency’s Thursday (Nov. 17) announcement.

At the time of its publication, OSHA estimated that the final standard would prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually.

The rule went into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, affecting approximately 112 million workers at 7 million worksites. The rule affects a wide range of workers including window washers, painters, warehouse workers and chimney sweeps, according to the agency.

More recently, in 2019, OSHA announced its development of a new collection of resources to help employers prevent falls on the job site.

OSHA says its goals for the resources are to promote awareness about fall hazards and educate job creators and workers on fall prevention. Falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities and were previously listed as the No. 1 safety violation (7,270 violations in 2018).

In May of this year, OSHA hosted its eighth annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction event, which encouraged construction employers and stakeholders to join the event to promote awareness and training “to address one of the industry’s most serious dangers.”

The fall prevention campaign was developed as part of the national safety stand-down in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Occupational Research Agenda and The Center for Construction Research and Training.

And last month, the DOL announced the award of more than $11.6 million in grants to educate workers and employers on workplace health and safety.

The grants are derived from the Susan Harwood Workplace Safety and Health Training program. For the 2021 fiscal year, grants were awarded in the Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building categories.

The DOL reports that the grants are a critical part of OSHA’s effort to educate workers and assist employers.

According to the Administration’s press release, the grants were awarded to 93 nonprofit organizations nationwide. The grants will be used to fund education and training on hazard recognition and prevention, in addition to the rights workers have to safe workplaces and employer responsibilities to provide them.


Tagged categories: Citations; Fall protection; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; NA; North America; OSHA; Valmont; Violations

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