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Best Buy worker suffers severe head injuries in fall (5/13)

May 13, 2011
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OSHA has cited a Best Buy Co. Inc. store in Duluth, Minnesota for five safety violations after a worker suffered severe head injuries from a fall in January.

The employee was stacking televisions on a storage rack while standing on an elevated powered industrial truck's platform when it suddenly tilted, causing him to fall approximately 12 feet.

Two repeat violations include failing to provide personal protective equipment that fit the employee and guardrails for a 12-foot fall hazard. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited in 2008 at an Illinois location involving similar equipment.

One serious violation involves allowing modifications to a powered industrial truck without manufacturer approval by taping shut the drive limit switch.

Two other-than-serious violations include failing to properly fill out the OSHA 300 log of workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2008, and failing to certify the log in 2008 and 2009.

"This injury resulted from managers' complacency, as they failed to oversee powered industrial truck operators to make sure that fall protection was being used," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "The fact that the body belt was too big for the operator shows a lack of concern and a desire to get the job done regardless of danger to the worker."

Penalties total $76,000. The company, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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