UPS accused of tampering with accident evidence
The commission has issued a proposed fine to UPS of $71,700 for what it called "willful" and "serious" violations.
"UPS respectfully disagrees with this citation and has served notice it will contest every aspect of this citation," UPS said in a statement.
Last August, a UPS employee was electrocuted at the site while trying to get a package that had fallen under a conveyor chute. He touched a large piece of machinery called a Mobile Distribution Unit (MDU) while lying on the ground to retrieve the package.
The MDU's grounding system was not working, and Hills' body provided the path to ground for the energized MDU, according to the UOSHA report.
But before investigators could properly investigate the accident, UPS removed and/or altered equipment, materials or other evidence related to the accident, according to the report. Not until the second day of the investigation did UPS disclose it had removed key evidence, according to the report. The tampering made it impossible to duplicate conditions relating to the accident, investigators said.
UPS disputes the tampering charge, stating that it was simply a "misunderstanding" and lack of communication over what to do with the equipment. Confusion and panic caused UPS management to be "unfamiliar with appropriate legal actions to take regarding a fatality," the report stated.
UPS said it immediately investigated possible causes of the accident after it happened, according to the UPS statement.
UOSHA proposed a fine of $70,000 for illegally removing equipment. An additional $1,700 fine was proposed for UPS having an unprotected flexible cord.