Florida

Company fined after changing safety parts on Cut-off saw that sliced worker’s throat

St. John’s County Fire Rescue serves St. Augustine, where a worker’s throat was cut in July while working on a water and sewer line.
St. John’s County Fire Rescue serves St. Augustine, where a worker’s throat was cut in July while working on a water and sewer line. ST. JOHN'S COUNTY FIRE RESCUE VIA FACEBOOK

St. Augustine-based G&H Underground Construction faces $57,738 in fines after a Cut-off saw sliced the throat of an employee, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday evening.

And $51,734 of that proposed fine comes from a single violation identified as the root cause of the almost-tragedy and classified as a “willful” violation.

“Manufacturers equip power tools with safety devices to protect workers from serious injuries,” OSHA Jacksonville Acting Area Office Director Michelle Gonzalez said in a Department of Labor release. “This employer disregarded safety requirements by altering those protective devices, causing a life-threatening injury.”

The employee working on a St. Augustine water and sewer line used a hand-held Stihl TS700 Cut-off saw.

The release says Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators found that on July 10, “while the employee cut a concrete pipe, the saw blade kicked back, causing a laceration on the employee’s throat.”

Though the employee lived, the Citations and Notification of Penalty describes the violation as changing the saw so that it was “exposing the top front 1/4 of the segmented diamond concrete saw blade, exposing the employee to struck-by hazards of the exposed saw blade kick back.”

G&H Underground Construction has until Aug. 31 to pay the fines, request a meeting with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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