June 15, 2015 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Richard Johnson’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see the findings of the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) in the agency’s citations against his employer, Southwest Fabrication. The 31 year-old was working in January 2015 at the company’s facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The initial press reports indicated that his clothes got entangled in a metal fabrication machine. I wrote about the incident shortly after it was reported by local press.

Inspectors with ADOSH conducted an inspection at the facility following the fatal incident. The agency recently issued citations to the firm and proposed an $8,250 penalty. Among others, Southwest Fabrication was cited for failing to have appropriate machine guarding (1910.212(a)(1)). The company paid the $8,250 penalty and ADOSH’s case is closed.

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


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