Rick Simer’s work-related death could have been prevented. That’s how I see OSHA’s findings in the agency’s recent citations against K.B.P. Coil Coaters, Inc.
The 64 year-old was working in August 2016 when he was killed on the job. The initial press report by the Denver Post indicated that Mr. Simer was “caught in an aluminum splitter machine.” I wrote about the incident shortly after it occurred.
OSHA completed its post-fatality inspection and recently issued citations to K.B.P. Coil Coaters. OSHA found that the company violated safety regulations for lockout/tagout procedures (1910.147) as well as for machine guarding (1910.212). This included:
“protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding methods are-barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.” (1910.212)
K.B.P. Coaters agreed to correct these safety problems by mid-April and is paying off a $24,000 penalty in installments. The fatality involving Rick Simer was one of about 80 fatalities in Colorado investigated last year by OSHA.
When some local press initially reported Rick Simer'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, Felton’s work-related death could have been prevented, it was no "accident."