Our-Way-Or-the-Highway: Montana Contractor Fined for Safety Flaws at Asphalt Mixing Plant

You know those mobile machines that mix asphalt during highway construction? Turns out they can be hazardous for workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Nelcon Inc. – a highway contractor based in Kalispell, Montana – for exposing workers to burns and falls at a mobile asphalt-mixing plant in Laurel, Montana. The company faces $261,418 in penalties for 23 serious violations.

Three workers suffered burns when ambient oil was poured into a larger hot oil tank. One of the workers was hospitalized after falling approximately 15 feet during the incident. OSHA inspectors determined that Nelcon Inc. failed to use fall protection systems; guard machinery; provide adequate personal protective equipment; control hazardous energy; and report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

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