July 11, 2013 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 10Comment

“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth,” was OSHA chief David Michaels’ reaction to the work-related death of Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis.  The 21-year old was crushed in a palletizer machine on August 16, 2012 at the Bacardi Bottling facility in Jacksonville, FL.  Davis was a temp worker hired by Remedy Intelligent Staffing.  It was his first day on assignment to the Bacardi plant.

An OSHA inspection following the fatality resulted in citations against Bacardi for two willful and nine serious violations.  Five of the violations, including those classified as willful, involved the company’s failed lockout/tagout program.  Davis and two other employees were cleaning parts of the palletizer machine, but the machine had not been locked off or tagged to prevent an accidental start up.

The OSHA citations, issued in February 2013, were accompanied by a proposed penalty of $192,000.  That’s a relatively stiff penalty for the agency.  An analysis by the AFL-CIO’s Health and Safety Department of FY 2012 data found the median proposed penalty amount by federal OSHA in a worker fatality case was just $6,625.  The two willful violations against Bacardi, and the $70,000 maximum penalty proposed for each, makes this case an outlier for federal OSHA.  Less than one percent of all violations are classified as willful.  The severity of the violations that led to the 21 year old worker’s death cannot be understated.

As the anniversary of Day Davis’ death approaches, has Bacardi paid the OSHA monetary penalty and agreed to rectify its worker safety deficiencies?

Rather than formally contesting the citations, Bacardi Bottling reach a settlement with OSHA.  The firm agreed to correct the violations identified in the citations, as well as:

  • conduct regular safety and health meetings
  • contact the OSHA consultation program for free expert advice on workplace health and safety
  • establish and/or continue to provide a safety and health program which includes self-inspection to assure compliance with OSHA regulation
  • establish and/or continue to provide a safety and health training program to reduce hazards in the workplace

In exchange, OSHA reduced the monetary penalty to $110,000 which Barcardi Bottling has paid.  The two willful violations remain on the company’s record.






10 thoughts on “Bacardi downs stiff OSHA penalty following worker death

  1. “Stiff penalty”?? you’re joking, right?
    A man died due to something that was so easily preventable. “slap on the wrist” is more like it.
    It’s insulting.

  2. Doug,
    Thanks for your comment. I wrote “stiff” in comparison to the penalties imposed by OSHA for the majority of work-related fatality cases. As I note, the proposed penalty for a work-related fatality in Florida in just $6,625 and very few are classified as “willful.”

  3. Even though the fine was “stiff” in your interpretation, your choice of words was egregious, at best. No intelligent person, would use the word stiff, when referring to a fine paid in the death of a human worker amounting to only $192,000 dollars. The correct word to use in lieu of stiff, was “paltry”.

  4. The USDOL OSHA Citation stated that Bacardi did not provide lockout equipment. The video shows clearly that shortly after the accident, an unknown worker grabs the lockout device from the control station, and then installs it. This is inconsistent with the statement of the operator in other articles, or the findings in the OSHA investigation. The US DOL stated that no one should die on their first day at work, however it appears that justice has never been afforded the family of Mr Davis or his estate for the wrongful death by corporate negligence and active negligence of the operator of the equipment. The US DOL response is disgraceful.

  5. There were so many things wrong with this case. The operator and supervisor should’ve never required that young man to cross the plane of a safety device without his own personal lock on each interlock guard and each energized source for that machine. Separate interlocked guarding should’ve been in place entering parts of the machine that were beyond the line of sight of the main controls of the machine. That apparently wasn’t the case here.

    Stumbling upon this case recently is upsetting to me as someone, who works in Safety for a reputable company, it is a reminder the importance of Lock-Tag-Try and adequate training. It’s also a reminder that life is fragile and we need to be very safety conscious not just for ourselves but for everyone around us.

    The first day and even the first week should’ve been spent in a classroom at the facility being trained on all the potential health and safety hazards pertinent to the job. Bacardi failed that young man, and his family.

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