OSHA issues $7,000 fine to Nebraska steel plant after employee dies on the job

Posted by admin on March 16, 2012

A 17-year veteran of a Nebraska steel plant died December 23, weeks after suffering injuries at work in an accident on December 7. Kristine Griffing, 52, died after her family says she was pinned in a 150-ton shearing machine at Eaton Corp of Kearney, Nebraska.


What caused this incident?

As a result of Griffing's death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the plant $7,000. The accident occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m., while Griffing was working an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. OSHA penalized Eaton Corp. because the shearing machines, which are used to cut large pieces of steel in smaller parts, lacked machine guarding.

OSHA area director, Bonita Winningham, cannot say whether the lack of these guards caused Griffing's death, but the victim's family said that when Griffing was pinned in the machine, she suffered third-degree burns, fractured ribs, a punctured lung and spinal fractures. Family members also said she suffered a brain injury as a result of being without oxygen for an undetermined length of time.

Although no one witnessed the accident, reports indicate that Griffing had to be pulled out of the machine when her body was found.

On March 13, Eaton spokesperson Kelly Jasko said the shearing machine where Griffing was injured is currently not being used by employees.

''We continue to be deeply saddened by Kris's death,'' she told the Kearney Hub.

Prior to this accident, the corporation was fined $1,000 in 2009 for failing to properly fill out OSHA 300 forms, which help keep track of employee injuries and illnesses.

''It's something that's required,'' Winningham told the Hub. ''They weren't filled out completely.''


How can similar incidents be prevented?

Since tracking accidents and workplace fatalities are so important, business managers may want to consider purchasing safety software, which can help CEOs schedule regular OSHA inspections and enable organizations to generate plans for incident reporting, hazards and observations.

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