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Bacardi may face $192,000 in penalties over temp’s death

February 12 2013

Bacardi Bottling Corp. faces proposed federal penalties of $192,000 for alleged safety violations in the wake of a temporary worker’s death, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported Monday. Bacardi announced that it has already addressed or put in place plans that resolve all safety and health matters identified by OSHA.

Temporary worker Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer machine during his first day on the job in August 2012 at Bacardi’s Jacksonville, Fla., facility, according to OSHA.

Davis was cleaning glass from under the hoist of the palletizing machine when an employee restarted the machine, according to OSHA. Bacardi had failed to train temporary employees on utilizing locks and tags to prevent the accidental start-up of machines and failed to ensure its own employees utilized procedures to lock or tag out machines, the agency reported.

"As OSHA conducted its inspection, a standard procedure for any workplace accident, Bacardi worked together with the agency and took immediate steps to correct any noted safety concerns identified by the inspector, rather than waiting until after the final report was issued," Bacardi said in a statement. "Bacardi worked with OSHA on improvements following a tragic accident in August 2012, which resulted in the death of a temporary agency worker. The company shares with OSHA the common goals of well-trained employees and safe workplace conditions."

The company said it disagrees with how OSHA characterized the company's actions in its press release.

"As a family-owned company with a long history of operating as an industry leader in workplace safety, Bacardi takes seriously any accident and continues to extend its sincerest condolences to the family," the company said. "Always looking to improve in safety measures and operational performance, Bacardi conducted additional employee re-training on lockout/tagout procedures, updated safety policies and procedures, and completed a thorough review of all equipment in order to prevent such an accident from happening again."

Two safety citations were issued for failing to develop, document and utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy and train temporary workers on lockout/tagout procedures, according to OSHA. A total of 12 safety violations have been alleged.

“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on earth,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

“We are seeing untrained workers — many of them temporary workers — killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop,” Michaels said. “Employers must train all employees, including temporary workers, on the hazards specific to that workplace — before they start working. Had Bacardi done so, this tragic loss of life could have been prevented.”

Bacardi’s proposed penalties can be viewed here.

Bacardi uses Remedy Intelligent Staffing is its staffing provider for certain jobs, according to OSHA.

Bacardi has 15 business days from the receipt of citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.


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