OSHA cites Bacardi plant in death of worker

21-year-old temporary worker died first day on job

Published On: Feb 11 2013 12:24:27 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 11 2013 04:09:32 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bacardi Bottling Corp. with 12 alleged safety violations following the death of a 21-year-old temporary worker his first day on the job.

Lawrence Daquan "Day" Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer machine at the Jacksonville facility in August.

The company uses Remedy Intelligent Staffing as a temporary staffing service to provide laborers for certain types of jobs.

"A worker's first day at work shouldn't be his last day on earth," said OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels. "Employers are responsible for ensuring the safe conditions of all their employees, including those who are temporary."

OSHA requires that employers protect the health and safety of all workers under their supervision and control.

Davis was cleaning glass from under the hoist of a palletizing machine when an employee restarted the palletizer. Officials said Bacardi Bottling had failed to train temporary employees on utilizing locks and tags to prevent the accidental startup of machines and to ensure its own employees utilized procedures to lock or tag out machines.

Two willful citations were issued for failing to develop, document and utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy and train temporary workers on lockout/tagout procedures. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"We are seeing untrained workers -- many of them temporary workers -- killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop," Michaels said. "Employers must train all employees, including temporary workers, on the hazards specific to that workplace before they start working. Had Bacardi done so, this tragic loss of life could have been prevented."

Also cited were nine serious violations for exposing workers to trips, struck-by and fire hazards where fixed permanent conveyors crossed through the aisle; obstructing exit routes; exposing workers to falling bottles and debris from overhead conveyors and electrical shock hazards.

Officials said the employer also failed to provide an adequate number of lockout/tagout devices to perform lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources on various equipment, conduct an adequate periodic review of the energy control procedures, perform servicing and maintenance on machines and equipment without training in the methods and means for energy isolation, and require workers to wear safety goggles and long sleeves when using air guns at 90 pounds per square inch.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for storing a mixing tank within 12 inches of the electrical panel box. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties for the willful and serious violations total $192,000. The citations can be viewed here.

Bacardi issued a statement Monday afternoon, which reads, in part:

"Throughout its history, Bacardi has been steadfast in its commitment to provide employees with a safe environment while adhering to the highest standards in procedures, policies and training. Bacardi reaffirms this commitment by working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during OSHA's recent inspection of the Company's Jacksonville, Florida, facilities. Bacardi has already addressed or put in place plans that resolve all safety and health matters identified by OSHA. Bacardi disagrees with how OSHA has characterized the Company's actions in its news release.

"As OSHA conducted its inspection, a standard procedure for any workplace accident, Bacardi worked together with the agency and took immediate steps to correct any noted safety concerns identified by the inspector, rather than waiting until after the final report was issued."

The statement later continues: "Always looking to improve in safety measures and operational performance, Bacardi conducted additional employee re-training on lockout/tagout procedures, updated safety policies and procedures, and completed a thorough review of all equipment in order to prevent such an accident from happening again."