Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Concrete Inc. of Columbus, Nebraska faces $14,630 in fines after the death of an employee on April 11, 2014.

The 26-year-old worker was killed after being struck in the head by a metal tow rope connection while operating a front-end loader. An investigation of the fatality by OSHA's Omaha Area Office found this tragedy may have been avoided if his employer had implemented procedures to protect the worker from struck-by hazards.

OSHA issued two serious and one other-than-serious safety violation.

How it happened

Investigators found the front end loader was attempting to tow a concrete truck that had become struck in the sand. The front end loader was connected to the concrete mixer truck by a tow rope and chain. A link on the chain failed, causing the tow rope to snap back and the metal tow rope connection went through the window of the cab striking the employee. One serious violation cites the company under OSHA's general duty clause, for failing to provide a workplace free of hazards.

Company also failed to...

Gehring Construction & Ready Mix Concrete also failed to properly train employees in towing methods, connecting techniques and the usage of appropriate towing components, resulting in a serious violation.

Additionally, the company was cited for not notifying OSHA of the death of the employee within eight hours following a work-related incident. OSHA was notified two-days after the incident.

"This was tragic and preventable death that has forever altered the lives of this employee's wife and three children," said Darwin Craig, OSHA's Acting Area Director in Omaha. Proposed Penalties: $14,630.