July 16, 2015 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Jason Strycharz’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see the findings of federal OSHA in the agency’s citations against his employer Kloeckner Metals. The 40 year-old was working in January 2015 at the company’s warehouse in Middletown, CT. The initial press reports indicated that Strycharz was struck by a piece of steel swinging from a crane. I wrote about the incident shortly after it was reported by local press.

OSHA inspectors conducted an inspection at the facility following Jason Strycharz’s death. The agency recently issued a citation to the firm. The agency proposed a serious violation of its crane safety standard concerning moving loads (1910.179(n)(3)(iii)(A) & (B)) and proposed an $7,000 penalty. Kloeckner Metals settled the case and is pay a $5,000 penalty on an installment plan.

As I noted in my previous blog post about the fatal incident, this company has a history of failing to address dangerous working conditions. An inspection in 2014 at their plant in Cincinnati, OH, for example, resulted in three serious and one repeat violations. That inspection occurred after a worker suffered what OSHA described as a “catastrophic injury.”

When some local press initially reported Jason Strycharz’s death, they called it an accident. An “accident” suggests the circumstances were unforeseen or could not have been avoided. OSHA’s findings tell a different story. Call it cutting corners, call it poor management, call it breaking the law. Whatever you want to call it, Jason Strycharz’s work-related death could have been prevented, it was no “accident.”

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