Denver stone distributor cited for willful, repeat, serious violations
Denver, Colorado – OSHA initiated an inspection of Nidi Tec, Inc. in January 2016 after fractured sections of granite slabs, weighing approximately 6,500 pounds combined, fell and killed an employee as he set the slabs on an A-frame rack with a fork truck. The worker was in the danger zone when the granite slabs fractured and slabs fell on the employee. Investigators found Nidi Tec exposed workers to crushing hazards associated with handling granite at its Denver worksite, and issued citations for two willful, two repeat, and seven serious violations. Penalties in the amount of $88,900 have been proposed.
“Handling of granite slabs is a well-known hazard in the industry, yet Nidi Tec did not take simple measures which could have avoided a tragedy and an employee’s preventable death,” said Herb Gibson, OSHA’s Area Director in Denver. “Crushing incidents can happen quickly and employers need to evaluate material handling operations.”
OSHA issued the willful violations for exceeding the rated capacity of the fork truck lifting granite slabs and making modifications to the fork truck by using granite pieces as a counter weight. The agency issued two repeat violations were issued for making modifications to the fork lift without the manufacturer’s approval, and for using wire rope slings not labelled properly with the lifting capacities.
Inspectors also issued seven serious violations for: not protecting workers from crushing hazards, storing granite slabs in a way that created a hazard, storing propane fuel used for the fork trucks improperly, failing to train employees properly in the operation of fork trucks, not inspecting fork trucks prior to operation, using defective wire rope slings to lift granite slabs, and lacking a hazard communication program. The citations can be view here.
Headquartered in Anaheim, California, Nidi Tec is a leading importer and distributor of natural stone products. Nidi Tec Inc. has a warehouse in Denver where four employees handle granite slabs.
In addition to the hazards of slab handling, workers engaged in stone fabrication can also be exposed to respirable silica hazards. OSHA’s new final rule to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica became effective on June 17, 2016. More information about the new standard can be found at http://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html.