The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Rye Brook, New York-based Xylem Inc. for an injury that an employee suffered at the water technology company’s Pewaukee facility.
OSHA said the employee suffered an injury when a guardrail loosened and he fell and struck his head on a support beam as he lowered himself into a nearly 30-foot-deep water test pit. OSHA said it received a report of the injury on Oct. 29, 2020.
OSHA said its inspectors determined that the company exposed employees to "walking-working surfaces hazards," failed to provide employees with fall protection before they entered a 100 by 24-foot water-testing pit and failed to follow "specific permit-required confined spaces safety procedures" prior to entering the water test pits.
OSHA proposed penalties of $234,054 on the company for one willful and eight serious safety violations.
“This worker’s injury could have been prevented if appropriate fall protection was provided,” said OSHA Milwaukee area director Christine Zortman. “OSHA has regulations for protecting workers who enter confined spaces, including having rescue equipment available and attendants ready to ensure their co-workers’ safety and to call for rescue services if necessary.”
Xylem tests, troubleshoots and repairs large industrial water treatment pumps used by power plants and municipalities. The company employs more than 1,600 workers nationwide and 57 at the Pewaukee facility.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.
"We’re committed to providing a safe workplace for all our employees," a company spokesperson said. "Safety is a core value at Xylem. Xylem is working with OSHA in relation to the incident that took place last autumn, in order to ensure all the facts are properly considered."