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Fatal fall leads to repeat OSHA citation for conveyor company


A Kentucky company is facing $320,400 in proposed fines from federal workplace safety regulators after an employee fell 22 feet to his death.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the 42-year-old employee of Louisville, Kentucky-based Material Handling Systems Inc./MHS Technical Services died because the employer did not provide fall protection despite previously being cited for a failure to do so, the agency said Monday in a statement.

OSHA cited the conveyor belt removal and installation company for three egregious willful violations for exposing workers to falls of more than 6 feet after its investigation of the February 2016 fatality, as well as three repeat and three serious citations for other hazards such as failing to determine whether walking and working surfaces could structurally support employees.

OSHA previously cited Material Handling Systems, whose workers compensation insurer is Old Republic Insurance Co. of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, most recently for fall protection violations in October 2015 at the same job site, according to the agency. In 2014, OSHA cited the company for similar violations after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall in Keasby, New Jersey. The employer also received fall protection citations in 2009 in Oregon and 2012 in Florida.

“A man is dead because this employer decided to break the law over and over again,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a statement. “OSHA is asking companies contracting with Material Handling Systems to take strong steps to ensure that this employer protects its employees and terminate its contracts if this employer continues to violate OSHA regulations.”

A company spokesperson and the insurer could not be immediately reached for comment.

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