.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Labor Cabinet reduces school district’s penalties in case of maintenance worker’s death

-A A +A
By Mallory Bilger

Spencer County Schools will pay less in Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalties than first thought in the case of a June workplace accident that resulted in the death of a maintenance employee.
The result of an informal conference last week between the Spencer County School District and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet has resulted in a $7,000 penalty reduction, according to Superintendent Chuck Adams. The district initially was supposed to pay $14,000 in OSHA penalties following the death of long-time district trict employee Wayne E. Howell, 61, who was found dead June 11 at the Jefferson Street maintenance garage trapped under a rotary mower deck.
As a result of the lowered penalty, the Board of Education voted in a special meeting Friday to withdraw its earlier decision to contest the Labor Cabinet’s penalties. Adams forwarded The Spencer Magnet an email containing correspondence that board attorney Grant Chenoweth wrote to the Labor Cabinet following the special meeting.
“The Board of Education of Spencer County held a special meeting earlier today and voted to accept the 50 percent reduction in penalty achieved through the informal conference and to withdraw the formal contest of the citations and penalties against them.  Please let me know if you need anything further from me to verify the withdrawal of the Board’s request for a hearing in this matter,” Chenoweth wrote in the email.
The investigation, which was conducted by the Labor Cabinet on behalf of OSHA, cited the district for two serious violations that were noted on the citation as follows:
Citation 1, Item 1: “On or before June 11, 2012, the employer had not developed, documented or utilized procedures for the control and release of potentially hazardous energy when employees performed servicing or maintenance while working under equipment such as but not limited to the  Buhler Versatile Farm King  Y750 mower deck with serial No. 479220.  On June 11, 2012, an employee was killed when the  Buhler Versatile Farm King  Y750 mower deck with serial No. 479220 fell on his body while he was under the machine installing the blades.  The mower deck was not properly supported and blocked to prevent it from falling.”
Citation 1, Item 2: “On or before June 11, 2012, three authorized employees did not receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control. On June 11, 2012, an employee was killed when the  Buhler Versatile Farm King  Y750 mower deck with serial No. 479220 fell on his body while he was under the machine installing the blades.  The mower deck was not properly supported and blocked to prevent it from falling.”
Following the incident in June, Adams said the initial examination of the scene revealed that Howell was performing maintenance on the mower.
Adams said the mower was elevated using two jacks and it was believed that the jacks failed, causing the mower to fall onto Howell.
The Labor Cabinet’s full review of the case should be made available soon.
The Spencer Magnet will have a follow up article addressing the Cabinet’s full investigation of the incident after the documents become public.