Feds cite safety violations, settle for $15K
By Michael Turton
Mid Hudson Concrete Products has been fined $15,000 for workplace safety violations that contributed to the death of its owner, Joseph Giachinta, in an accident at the company’s Route 9 facility in Philipstown on Nov. 22, 2015.
Giachinta, 58, was killed when he became pinned under a forklift that he was servicing after the hoist failed, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an investigation the day after the accident. Its findings, issued on May 7, cited six violations it deemed “serious,” resulting in $26,320 in fines being levied against the company. A settlement was reached on June 6 in which the fines were reduced to $15,000. OSHA closed the case on Oct 5.
OSHA said the principal violation was that Mid Hudson Concrete did not furnish “a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were … likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees” and that employees were exposed to crush hazards resulting from the use of inadequate vehicle-support stands.
It also concluded that the stands were not adequately marked to indicate their capacity and did not have the proper safety markings and manufacturer information.
In an abatement note that outlines measures to be taken to eliminate the hazards, OSHA said support stands should comply with standards set by American Society of Mechanical Engineers/Portable Automotive Lifting Devices-Safety Standard for Portable Automotive Lifting Devices. It also noted the stands “are not to be used to simultaneously support both ends of a vehicle.”
According to OSHA, 4,821 workers were killed on the job in the U.S. in 2014, or about 13 people each day. In 1970, when Congress created the agency within the Department of Labor, an average of 38 people a day were killed. In addition, private employers reported 2.9 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2015.