June 2021 Enforcement

Milwaukee water facility cited after worker injured falling into water test pit


A worker for Xylem Inc., a water technology company in Pewaukee, 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.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration received a report of the injury on Oct. 29, 2020. Its inspectors later 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 for one willful and eight serious safety violations.

“This worker’s injury could have been prevented if appropriate fall protection was provided,” said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Milwaukee. “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.”

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