Con-way to fight OSHA penalty
Con-way Freight is contesting an Occupational Safety and Health Administration decision to fine the second-largest U.S. less-than-truckload carrier for alleged safety violations that led to the death of a forklift operator last October.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based trucking company denied in a statement e-mailed to American Shipper that poor training contributed to the employees death at a Manchester, N.H., freight terminal.
“This was a tragic, unfortunate accident which we believe occurred as a result of misjudgment by the employee, who had been fully trained in the proper operation and safety procedures of the equipment,” Con-way said.
OSHA said on April 8 that it planned to fine Con-way $119,500 for “willful, repeat and serious safety violations” following a post-accident inspection of the Manchester facility.
The dockworker was crushed beneath the forklift he was operating after it went off the edge of the loading dock. According to OSHA, the worker was not wearing his seatbelt, and the company had not trained him and other forklift operators to follow manufacturer guidelines that seatbelts be used during operation.
The agency, part of the Department of Labor, noted that another employee died in a similar accident in Dallas in 2003.
Con-way was cited for lack of training ($70,000) and for allowing a forklift to be operated in defective condition for a second time ($30,000). OSHA cited the company for a similar hazard at the company’s Bridgeview, Ill., cross-dock in May 2007.
Con-way was also fined $14,500 for the lack of seatbelt use, not having the forklift maintain a safe distance from the edge of the loading dock, and not marking aisles and passageways for forklift use.
The piece-shipment carrier insisted that it “places the utmost importance on the safety of our employees and the safe and proper operation of industrial freight handling equipment at our facilities.”
It stated that forklift operator training includes a review of manufacturer safety recommendations and warnings, and denied that the forklift had any mechanical problems. The braking and steering systems on the forklift were operating properly at the time of the accident, the company said.
The independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission will hear Con-way’s appeal. ' Eric Kulisch