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Cal/OSHA cites two employers after temporary worker fatally crushed

Workplace hazards not evaluated, worker did not receive safety training

Posted May 2, 2019

Cal/OSHA has cited an agricultural employer and a farm labor contractor more than $100,000 combined in proposed penalties after a worker was fatally crushed by a bin dumper at a walnut processing and packing facility.

In October 2018, forklift operators at an agricultural facility were filling bins with walnuts, which were then dumped into a hopper for processing. A temporary worker was instructed to clean the area around the equipment. The worker was under an 800-pound bin dumper when it emptied its load and automatically lowered to the ground, crushing him.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation determined the agricultural employer did not evaluate workplace hazards and the worker did not receive safety training from the agricultural employer or the farm labor contractor before being assigned to clean concrete and machinery at the walnut processing facility.

Investigators found that the agricultural employer failed to ensure that the walnut bin dumper they designed included proper machine guards or lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers who maintain the machinery. The company also failed to provide an extension tool for cleaning the area, which would have significantly minimized potential crushing hazards. Cal/OSHA identified four serious violations and issued four citations with proposed penalties totaling $67,500.

Citations were also issued to the farm labor contractor for failure to ensure that workers were trained on hazards related to cleaning and servicing around the bin dumper. Cal/OSHA issued two citations classified as serious with proposed penalties of $33,750.

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