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Region 7 News Release: 10-376-KAN
March 25, 2010
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Werner Construction Inc.
in Norfolk, Neb., for violations of OSH Act
Employee loses life in roadway belt paving machine accident

NORFOLK, Neb. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Werner Construction Inc. in Norfolk following the investigation of a worker killed when caught in a roadway belt paving machine's screw conveyors.

"This worker should not have been allowed to work in front of the paving machine while it was in operation and moving," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for their employees to prevent this needless loss of life from occurring."

OSHA's investigation found three alleged willful and one alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The willful violations stem from the company's failure to instruct equipment operators in the safe operation of the belt paving machine; unguarded screw conveyors; and screw conveyors unlocked during maintenance. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The serious violation stems from the lack of employee instruction in recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with the belt paving machine. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard that an employer knew or should have known about.

OSHA has proposed $202,000 in penalties against the company. Werner Construction Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha, Neb., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act