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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Spiral Industry Inc., a Birmingham, AL-based manufactured home builder, and fined the company $79,600 following investigation of a fatal accident. An employee was critically injured Oct. 12, 2000, when he was caught between two sections of a double-wide mobile home as they were being pushed together. He died a month later after surgery in connection with his injuries.
Following an investigation of the accident, OSHA cited Spiral Industry for 12 serious and five repeat safety violations. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. The 12 serious citations, with penalties totaling $47,600, included:
The remaining penalty of $32,000 was proposed for violations that were categorized as repeat because the company had been cited for the same or similar hazards previously. These included failure to install adequate guarding at suspended platforms; allowing suspended platforms to be cluttered with debris; failure to properly identify exits; unguarded saw blades; and failure to identify circuits and disconnects which could cause electrical shocks.
"This employer did not take necessary precautions to safeguard workers from crushing hazards while joining two halves of a double-wide home," says Paul Alvarado, OSHA’s acting area director in Birmingham. "Several safety lapses contributed to the fatal accident, including failing to ensure that the mobile home sections were unoccupied before they were pushed together, not notifying nearby employees of the planned movement, and reassigning spotters’ to help push the motor home sections rather than ensuring they remained at their stations to look out for the safety of other employees."
Alvarado adds that other protective measures also were lacking. Workers on a suspended platform without guardrails were placed at substantial risk of injury from falls and others working with unguarded saws were exposed to potential cuts and amputations.
Spiral Industry employs approximately 120 workers.