Montana Asphalt Company Failed to Provide Fall Protection, Worker Died


Billings, MT ( -The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Corvallis, Mont.-based M.R. Asphalt Inc. with 16 safety and health violations, including one willful, following an investigation into the death of a worker that occurred in September 2012.

An employee checking asphalt levels from the top of a tank at the M.R. Asphalt facility north of Hamilton, Mont., fell 15 feet, hitting his head on a concrete structure supporting the tank. A willful violation was cited for failing to provide a guardrail or fall protection on the working surface. 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," said Jeff Funke, director of OSHA's Billings Area Office. "Employers who knowingly expose workers to life-threatening hazards will be held fully accountable."

Thirteen serious violations include failing to provide workers with information and training on hazardous chemicals, provide adequate toilet and hand-washing facilities and protect workers from moving parts, such as horizontal shafts, drive systems, rotating chains and sprocket assemblies. Other violations include exposing workers to electrical hazards and leaving ladders with defects in service. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to record each work-related fatality, injury or illness case, and 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.

Proposed penalties total $54,000. 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.

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