Originally Posted Online: Oct. 04, 2012, 5:38 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 04, 2012, 6:38 pm

Alcoa facing potential fines of $37,800 for fatal July 16 accident

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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

An Alcoa spokesman said the company will take corrective action after receiving six citations from the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Sept. 19 in connection with the July death of an employee at the Alcoa Davenport Works.

Robert Leach, of Wheatland, Iowa, died July 16 at the plant.

John Riches said the Iowa Division of Labor Services identified gaps in training and energy isolation procedures at the plant.

Jens Nissen, an Iowa OSHA spokesman, said the six citations were deemed serious, and total proposed penalties are $37,800.

Mr. Riches said Alcoa conducted its own investigaton and will meet with Iowa OSHA again next week to discuss the report.

The violations center on the plant's sheet finishing department's coil slitter.

"The employer did not specifically address energy control procedures for controlling movement of the threader table due to gravity," the citation states. "The platform was not pinned in place after being positioned in order for personnel to reach the threader table motor.

"The release from lockout did not include removal of the pin used to hold the platform in place. The release from lockout did not include a statement about notification of affected employees that the lockout devices had been removed.

"This condition existed on or about 07/16/12."

Each violation must be resolved by Nov. 5, according to the citations. One citation said Alcoa did not ensure employees performing servicing or maintenance on the No. 14 coil slitter, "were aware of all the energy sources, which included gravity, while performing servicing or maintenance, and the means to control the hazardous energy."

Mr. Nissen said Thursday that Mr. Leech was doing machinery maintenance when the accident happened.

In July, Mr. Riches said the last fatality at the plant was in August 2000.