Fatal workplace accident in Moundville could have been prevented, says Labor Department

Fatal workplace accident in Moundville could have been prevented, says Labor Department

A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation found that the fatal injury of an employee at a construction site in Moundville could have been avoided.

The agency said an industrial concrete contractor failed to follow required safety measures that could have prevented the fatal injuries of a 65-year-old worker at a construction site near Tuscaloosa when a cargo container weighing more than four tons fell and struck the employee.

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The agency said investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that an employee at Ballard Contractors Inc. in Moundville was maneuvering an 8,575-pound cargo container into place when one of the chains used to lift the box broke.

OSHA concluded that the company violated federal regulations by:

  • It was not ensured that the rigging equipment was sufficiently designed to support the weight of the container.
  • Allows an employee to work near or under a moving load when moving a container.
  • Allows workers to use steel chain slings and a four-way chain lift without the need for identification plates or load capacity information.
  • No regular inspection of the slings.
  • Failure to ensure fall protection was in place while workers were attaching rigging to an overhead crane at a height of 3.33 m.

“Ballard Contractors has failed in its legal obligation to provide a safe work environment for its employees, particularly when it comes to the serious hazards involved in handling heavy loads,” said Joel Batiz, OSHA office director in Birmingham, Alabama. “OSHA standards exist to prevent tragedies like this. Employers must recognize their duty to ensure the safety of their employees.”

Ballard Contractors Inc. was cited for eight violations related to inadequate protection of workers from falls, impacts and crush injuries.

“We urge employers to contact OSHA so they fully understand their obligations,” Batiz added. “Our team has numerous resources to assist them in developing safety plans, identifying workplace hazards and taking all possible steps to ensure employees finish their shifts safely.”

Founded in 1986, Ballard Contractors Inc. specializes in commercial and industrial concrete construction. Services include slab laying, foundation and tilt-up construction, exterior paving, curb and gutter construction, structural concrete work and saw cutting.