April 22, 2016 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Tim Cooper’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see the findings from OSHA in the agency’s citations against his employer Independence Tube.

The 49 year-old was working in October 2015 at the company’s plant in Decatur, Alabama. The initial press reports indicated that Cooper was struck by a 6,000 pound steel coil. I wrote about the incident shortly after it occurred.

OSHA issued citations against Independence Tube for four serious violations. The company paid a $17,290 penalty. The violations included failure to have an effective lockout/tagout program and appropriate guarding of floor openings and machines, as well as the employer’s general duty to provide a safe free of recognized hazards. Just a couple of month’s before Cooper’s death, Independence Tube was cited by OSHA for similar hazards at its plant in Marseilles, Illinois.

When some local press initially reported Tim Cooper’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, Cooper’s work-related death could have been prevented, it was no accident.

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