“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth,” was OSHA chief David Michaels’ reaction to the work-related death of Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis. The 21-year old was crushed in a palletizer machine on August 16, 2012 at the Bacardi Bottling facility in Jacksonville, FL. Davis was a temp worker hired by Remedy Intelligent Staffing. It was his first day on assignment to the Bacardi plant.
An OSHA inspection following the fatality resulted in citations against Bacardi for two willful and nine serious violations. Five of the violations, including those classified as willful, involved the company’s failed lockout/tagout program. Davis and two other employees were cleaning parts of the palletizer machine, but the machine had not been locked off or tagged to prevent an accidental start up.
The OSHA citations, issued in February 2013, were accompanied by a proposed penalty of $192,000. That’s a relatively stiff penalty for the agency. An analysis by the AFL-CIO’s Health and Safety Department of FY 2012 data found the median proposed penalty amount by federal OSHA in a worker fatality case was just $6,625. The two willful violations against Bacardi, and the $70,000 maximum penalty proposed for each, makes this case an outlier for federal OSHA. Less than one percent of all violations are classified as willful. The severity of the violations that led to the 21 year old worker’s death cannot be understated.
As the anniversary of Day Davis’ death approaches, has Bacardi paid the OSHA monetary penalty and agreed to rectify its worker safety deficiencies?
Rather than formally contesting the citations, Bacardi Bottling reach a settlement with OSHA. The firm agreed to correct the violations identified in the citations, as well as:
- conduct regular safety and health meetings
- contact the OSHA consultation program for free expert advice on workplace health and safety
- establish and/or continue to provide a safety and health program which includes self-inspection to assure compliance with OSHA regulation
- establish and/or continue to provide a safety and health training program to reduce hazards in the workplace
In exchange, OSHA reduced the monetary penalty to $110,000 which Barcardi Bottling has paid. The two willful violations remain on the company’s record.