An employee of Nidi Tec Inc. in Denver, Colorado died on January 29, 2016 after approximately 6,500 pounds of granite slabs fell on him. The incident occurred as the worker was setting slabs on an “A” frame rack with a fork truck.
"Handling of granite slabs is a well-known hazard in the industry, yet Nidi Tec did not take simple measures which could have avoided a tragedy and an employee's preventable death," said Herb Gibson, OSHA's Area Director in Denver. "Crushing incidents can happen quickly and employers need to evaluate material handling operations."
OSHA investigators found that found Nidi Tec exposed workers to crushing hazards associated with handling granite at its Denver worksite, and issued citations for two willful, two repeat and seven serious violations.
OSHA issued the willful violations for exceeding the rated capacity of the fork truck lifting granite slabs and making modifications to the fork truck by using granite pieces as a counter weight. The agency issued two repeat violations were issued for making modifications to the fork lift without the manufacturer's approval, and for using wire rope slings not labelled properly with the lifting capacities.
Inspectors also issued seven serious violations for:
- Not protecting workers from crushing hazards.
- Storing granite slabs in a way that created a hazard.
- Storing propane fuel used for the fork trucks improperly.
- Failing to train employees properly in the operation of fork trucks.
- Not inspecting fork trucks prior to operation.
- Using defective wire rope slings to lift granite slabs.
- Lacking a hazard communication program.
Proposed Penalties: $88,900
Headquartered in Anaheim, California, Nidi Tec is a leading importer and distributor of natural stone products. Nidi Tec Inc. has a warehouse in Denver where four employees handle granite slabs.