Elbert C. Woods’ 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, Cleveland Track Material. The 45-year-old was working in August 2014 at the company’s Cleveland plant when he was pulled into machinery. I wrote about the incident shortly after it was reported by local press.
Inspectors with OSHA conducted an inspection at Cleveland Track following Woods’ death. The agency recently issued citations to the firm for six serious violations and proposed a $49,000 penalty. The violations all involved gross failures in the company’s lockout/tagout system. Cleveland Track settled with OSHA and agreed to pay a $35,000 penalty.
Just a few weeks prior to the work-related death of Elbert C. Woods, another Cleveland Track worker, Michael John Rettew, 41, died from injuries he suffered in April 2014 at the firm’s facility in Reading, PA. The company received citations from OSHA for serious violations and agreed to pay a $9,750 penalty
When some local press initially reported Elbert C. Woods’ 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, Elbert C. Woods’ work-related death—and that of Michael John Rettew—could have been prevented, it was no accident.