If they had been in place, safety mechanisms might have saved a 62-year-old parts assembler who died after he was struck by a 4-pound metal spacer that flew off a 4-ton hydraulic press, OSHA inspectors determined.

Worked there for 31 years

An investigation at Ridewell Corp., a Springfield-based manufacturer of vehicle suspension systems, found the worker received multiple broken bones and internal injuries in the January incident. He had been employed at the company for 31 years. Inspectors found that the machine he was working on lacked required safety mechanisms.

"This tragic loss could have been prevented," said Barbara Theriot, OSHA's area director in Kansas City. "Ridewell workers are at risk for life-threatening hazards every time machinery is operated because this company chooses not to keep them safe."

Citations and fines

OSHA cited Ridewell for one willful and one additional safety violation. The willful violation cites the company for failing to protect workers from operating parts of machinery. The company also failed to provide the requested First Report of Injury document within the required four-hour timeline, resulting in one other-than-serious violation. OSHA has proposed penalties of $71,000.

Ridewell has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Kansas City, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.