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Tue June 15 2021

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US precaster fined for leaving worker buried in sand

1 Aug 12 Illinois-based Dukane Precast has been issued with a fine for failing to call emergency services after a worker was seriously injured when engulfed in sand.

Plant employees allegedly attempted to rescue the worker for more than an hour before the company summoned emergency assistance.

The US Labor Department's Occupational Safety & Health Administration proposes fining Dukane Precast a total of US$70,000. The company was cited with four safety violations, including one willful violation for failing to immediately call emergency services when a worker became engulfed in a sand bin and suffered serious crushing injuries.

"Dukane Precast failed to enforce rules in place to protect workers. Employers have a responsibility to immediately seek emergency assistance when a worker is injured on the job and to prevent others from putting themselves at risk in a rescue operation," said Kathy Webb, area director for OSHA in North Aurora.

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The willful violation is for failing to immediately call rescue services when the worker became engulfed in sand after he had walked into the bin and onto the sand to level it. 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.

Three serious safety violations have been cited for failing to maintain a railing to protect workers from dangerous equipment, prevent unauthorised workers from entering a permit-required confined space and prepare entry permits prior to entering a confined space. 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.

Dukane Precast is a concrete manufacturer that employs 90 workers. The company has been inspected by OSHA 14 times since 1981, and has been issued a total of 25 violations.

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