Rim Servicing Process Found Faulty in Employee Fatality

Rim Servicing Process deemed faulty in fatailta at Auto Parts CompanyThe United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Massachusetts-based auto parts company, John’s Used Autos and Parts LLC, for violations which occurred at a Bellingham facility. Following a November 1st, 2016 agency investigation, OSHA determined that eleven serious and one other-than-serious violations existed around their rim servicing process. For these violations, OSHA set a penalty of $27,157.

OSHA’s investigation was prompted by a John’s Used Autos employee injury, where a worker was struck in the head by a chain come-a-long device, while attempting to inflate and mount a multi-piece rim wheel on a vehicle, on October 31st, 2016. The employee died on November 11th, 2016. OSHA determined that John’s Used Autos failed to provide adequate training or safeguarding in their rim servicing process.

OSHA determined that the following violations existed and centered around the rim servicing process:

  • Failure to train and instruct employees in correct operating procedure for servicing multi-piece rim wheels
  • Failure to establish safety procedures for repair operations
  • Failure to provide employees with restraining device for use when inflating tires
  • Failure to provide adequate exit-route signage
  • Failure to provide and mandate personal protective equipment
  • Failure to implement forklift training
  • Failure to provide adequate training regarding the management of hazardous chemicals (HAZWOPER training)

OSHA Boston area director, James Mulligan, said, “This employee’s death was preventable. Servicing rim wheels such as these is dangerous, exposing employees to struck-by and other hazards. An employer must train workers properly and equip them to do this kind of work, safely, before they start the job. I urge all employers performing this type of work to review their operations and take the required corrective action, so no other workers are killed.”

One common violation, facing safety leaders, is a lack of adequate training. In the case of John’s Used Autos, a lack of adequate HAZWOPER training constituted a safety violation and subsequent citation. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to maintain compliance is an OSHA-approved online training-course.