The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Black River Falls, Wisconsin-based contractor, Lunda Construction, for one willful and five serious safety violations after an investigation found numerous violations that resulted in an accident that led to the injury of one worker and death of another while they were working on a bridge construction project in the Twin Ports last September. As a result of the violations, the company is facing fines of up to $105,000.
The incident that led to the investigation came when an 18-year-old worker, Kelsey Hagenson, was mixing cement and another worker ran into him with a forklift. Hagenson had only been working for the company three months at the time. The worker operating the forklift had been with the company for 15 years, but he had not been trained to operate the forklift and he also had limited use of his right hand at the time.
According to OSHA’s report on the incident, the company showed indifference or intentional disregard for employee safety. They noted that “the employer is required to provide training to all of their employees on the types of equipment they are required to operate. In this instance, Lunda did not do that.”
In addition to the citations and fines, OSHA has placed the company into their Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which means they are subject to even greater oversight and more random inspections. Over the past five years, the agency has inspected Lunda Construction 30 times and cited them for 12 serious violations that could result in serious injury or death.