Corvallis asphalt plant cited for violations after worker death

2013-03-14T08:21:00Z 2013-03-14T21:26:06Z Corvallis asphalt plant cited for violations after worker deathBy DAVID ERICKSON Ravalli Republic The Billings Gazette
March 14, 2013 8:21 am  • 

CORVALLIS – A Corvallis asphalt production plant, M.R. Asphalt Inc., has been cited with 16 safety and health violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an investigation into the death of a worker last fall.

William Irby Jr., 54, of Corvallis was killed last September after he slipped off a tank that he was measuring and fell 15 feet, hitting his head on a concrete structure.

Irby was checking asphalt levels from the top of the tank when he slipped.

After an investigation, OSHA cited the company with one willful violation for failing to provide a guardrail or fall protection on the working surface.

According to OSHA, a willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

“By ignoring fall protection requirements, this employer showed plain indifference and intentional disregard to worker safety,” Jeff Funke, director of OSHA’s Billings Area Office, said in a statement. “Employers who knowingly expose workers to life-threatening hazards will be held fully accountable.“

The company also was cited for 13 serious violations, which include failing to provide workers with information and training on hazardous chemicals, failing to provide adequate toilet and hand-washing facilities, and failing to protect workers from moving parts such as horizontal shafts, drive systems, rotating chains and sprocket assemblies.

Other violations included exposing workers to electrical hazards and leaving ladders with defects in service.

A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, according to a statement from Jose A. Carnevali, a Department of Labor spokesman.

Two other-than-serious violations were given for failing to record each work-related fatality, injury or illness case, and to notify OSHA within eight hours of an occupational fatality.

An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company was given $54,000 in proposed penalties by OSHA. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

M.R. Asphalt owner Marty Romano declined to comment for this story.

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