OSHA Cites HM Southeast Cement in 2023 Death

A federal investigation into the death of a maintenance employee found that HM Southeast Cement and G & R Mineral Services could have prevented the incident by communicating and following safety rules designed to prevent the unexpected startup of machinery.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators found that on Aug. 4, 2023, a worker employed by Birmingham, Ala.-based G & R Mineral Services – a maintenance and repair contractor who was hired by HM Southeast Cement – was performing repairs on a screw conveyor system mounted on top of a cement silo at Port Everglades. Despite the equipment being locked out and de-energized, the employer made the decision to remove the locks temporarily and energize the equipment to rotate the screw conveyor shaft to align the equipment for repair. As a result, the worker was caught in the conveyor and suffered fatal wounds. 

The agency cited HM Southeast Cement for three serious violations and proposed $43,554 in penalties to the employer. OSHA found the company failed to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy, perform periodic inspections of the energy control procedures to prevent accidental contact with ingoing nip points and rotating parts, and review and coordinate lockout-tagout procedures with its contractor. 

OSHA also cited G & R Mineral for three serious violations for failing to remove employees from areas surrounding unguarded screw conveyors, failing to establish specific procedures for controlling hazardous energy and failing to inform the host employer of their lockout/tagout procedures. The agency proposed $38,715 in penalties for G & R Mineral. 

“This tragedy is a reminder of the importance of properly developed and implemented lockout/tagout procedures,” said OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “Employers and contractors must assess the hazards before anyone touches the machinery and must use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent serious injuries or death.”

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