June 24, 2014 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Jason Nolte, 31, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Saturday, June 21 while working at a window company in Aurora, Colorado. Local stations KMGH, KDVR and KUSA provides some initial information on Nolte’s death:

  • The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. at Manko Window Systems
  • Nolte was helping to unload two crates of glass
  • Nolte was crushed by the 4,000 pound load
  • A former employee of the facility said it wasn’t the first time that glass fell on a worker at the plant. He said he’d give their safety program a D-minus grade.

OSHA will conduct a post-fatality inspection of the plant. If the agency’s inspectors identify violations of health safety regulations, the company will be cited.

Manko Window Systems has a history with OSHA. Its Manhattan, Kansas facility has been subject to five OSHA inspections since 2005. It’s racked up two repeat and 13 serious violations. The site is currently in the midst of another OSHA inspection.

OSHA inspectors were at the Aurora, Colorado facility twice since 2004, both as a result of complaints. Those inspections resulted in four serious and one repeat violation. The company was cited for a variety of violations, including those related to forklifts, aerial lifts, guarding, and control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout.) The company has paid about $25,000 in OSHA penalties for infractions at its Aurora and Manhattan facilities.

Manko Window Systems also has facilities in Omaha, NE, Des Moines, IA and Junction City, KS. The company has 400 employees and manufacturers commercial window systems, entrance doors, and storefront systems.

Each year, nearly 100 workers in Colorado are fatally injured on-the-job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 82 work-related fatalities in Colorado during 2012 (most recent available data.) Nationwide, at least 4,628 workers suffer fatal traumatic injuries that year.

The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:

  • Federal OSHA has 28 inspectors in Colorado to cover more than 151,000 workplaces.
  • The average penalty for a serious violation in Colorado is $1,649.

Federal OSHA has until mid-December to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Jason Nolte’s life.  It’s likely they’ll determine that Manko Window Systems’ safety program was inadequate and Nolte’s death was preventable. It was no “accident.”

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