A 74-year-old employee of a nursery and landscaping company was fatally injured when he tripped over a pallet and fell to the ground. On the day of the incident, the victim was working inside the greenhouse watering plants and collecting dead plants for disposal. Upon leaving the greenhouse with a flat of dead plants in hand, the victim encountered a customer. He placed the flat on a pallet located just outside the greenhouse door. After assisting the customer, the victim returned to the pallet of topsoil to retrieve the flat, and dispose of the dead plants into the dumpster. As the victim took his first step, his left foot caught the edge of the pallet causing him to trip and fall head first to the ground. The victim was hospitalized and died 5 days later due to his injuries.
After a fatality, an investigation by government regulators will almost certainly take place, it will also involve state and local investigators too. What they uncover during their inspection doesn’t always directly relate to the actual incident, but an employer is still responsible for any violations, citations, fines and penalties found.
Safety inspectors conducted a full investigation and inspection of the worksite and the company was cited for several violations, some of which were not related to the incident. Citations included, failure to report the fatality within 8 hours and failure to properly complete required injury and illness logs, as well as missing machine guarding, and unsafe storage of compressed gas cylinders.