Missouri Company Cited Following Fatality at Joplin Site

November 16, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited utility company Missouri American Water for two willful safety violations following the May 16, 2012, death of a worker. Proposed penalties total $140,000.

The worker suffered fatal injuries when a gas-powered saw kicked back while he and another employee were cutting sections of old cast-iron pipe.

The work was part of efforts to reroute underground water lines in a residential neighborhood being rebuilt following the EF5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011.

The violations involve exposing workers to “struck-by” hazards while they were cutting water pipe by failing to provide support in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and company policies, and lack of training on pipe-cutting operations.

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

Missouri American Water employs approximately 800 workers statewide. It is a subsidiary of Voorhees, N.J.-headquartered American Water, which operates utilities in more than 30 states and parts of Canada, and employs more than 7,000 workers nationwide.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA