July 29, 2015 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Timothy Winding’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 KCI Inc and Ford Motor Company. The 50 year-old was working in December 2014 at the Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, MO, when he was killed on the job.

The initial press reports indicated that Winding was part of a crew of contractors who were working to retool the plant for a new line of Ford trucks. While working on a body marriage machine, a safety rod broke and Winding was crushed. I wrote about the incident shortly after it was reported by local press.

OSHA inspectors conducted an inspection at the facility following Timothy Winding’s death. Inspectors said “a weld failure caused a temporary support safety pin to disengage.” Winding was crushed by a conveyor carriage weighing 4 tons.

The agency recently issued a citation to the firm. The agency proposed a willful violation of its “general duty clause” and proposed a $70,000 penalty.  OSHA also proposed a $7,000 penalty to Ford Motor Company for a serious violation for failing to inspect the assembly line’s construction. Both firms are contesting the OSHA citations.

When some local press initially reported Timothy Winding’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, Timothy Winding’s work-related death could have been prevented, it was no “accident.”

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