LAS VEGAS, NV, Jun 26, 2020 - (ACN Newswire) - According to Good Jobs First's violation tracker, Komatsu (OTCMKTS: KMTUY) ranked 6th worst within their industry with over $3mm in penalties since 2000, as cited by OSHA, EPA and NLRB. Eight of the 14 primary offenses include workplace safety and employment related violations. According to a 2017 OSHA violation report, fall protection had the highest number of citations.
This continual pattern of negligence, as shown by Federal citations and courts cases involving Komatsu America, points to a caviler attitude towards safety.
Below is a summary of several recent safety violations credited to Komatsu America. January 24, 2020, a Komatsu employee in the State of Utah was caught driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended or revoked Commercial Driver License.
December 5, 2019, another Komatsu employee in the state of Utah was found to be operating a commercial vehicle without possessing a valid Medical certificate.
September 26, 2006, Henry Ross of North Dakota was killed operating a Komatsu piece of equipment that came with no seat belts or roll over protection (ROPS) that should have been installed on the equipment. Komatsu America choose not to equip the basic operator protective pieces to the equipment Mr. Ross was operating which could have kept Mr. Ross safe.
In another case in 2012 at a Norwood, IL Komatsu plant, Stanley Musgrave Jr., 53, died from an industrial accident. In 2011, OSHA cited the same Illinois Komatsu plant. The two repeat violations included "failing to develop machine-specific energy control procedures and training to ensure workers understood energy control procedures."
"Komatsu America has a responsibility to ensure equipment is maintained in good working order and that employees are properly trained in the safe operation of equipment they are required to use," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria, IL. "This unfortunate incident might have been prevented had the employer addressed previous incidents where the hydraulic coupler had failed."
Timothy Rivers, a 35-year-old Komatsu American employee with one year of experience, died on March 6, 2019 at a mine in Grants City, New Mexico, after being struck by a relief valve from a 500-ton hydraulic bottle jack (bottle jack). As Rivers attempted to raise an electric shovel, the hydraulic pressure ejected the relief valve from 1 of 4 bottle jacks. The relief valve struck Rivers causing his death. The ensuing review by MSHA came to the conclusion this accident would not have occurred had the contractor (Komatsu America) ensured that the bottle jack was being maintained in operable condition.
July 20, 2016 a semi-truck hauling a pair of Komatsu excavators hit the overpass spanning Interstate 5 near Chehalis, WA, causing damage leading to the aforementioned lawsuit.
The contention in the ongoing Federal lawsuit is the same pattern of gross negligence was the cause of the bridge strike. The Komatsu America contractor's employee has testified under oath that he was never instructed to curl the boom under to reduce the shipping height on a Komatsu excavator. This increased height from the failure to curl the boom led to the disastrous bridge strike on July 22, 2016.
Komatsu had several opportunities to audit its contractor Modern Machinery to see if there were an ongoing training program, and ensure that the Komatsu contractor was training its employees correctly, or if it were training them at all. Komatsu chose not to audit its contractor for OSHA compliance. OSHA requires all operators to be trained on the equipment they are to operate. The contractor employee testified he was never trained to operate the equipment involved in the bridge strike.
The suit alleges that Komatsu America's agent Modern Machinery failed to load the excavators properly and in accordance with Komatsu's published shipping dimensions for the equipment under transport. ETON alleges that the knowing failure to load pursuant to the manufacturer recommendations was the cause of the accident and damage to the bridge.
Modern Machinery is part of a large consortium of privately held companies collectively known as the Washington Companies, owned by billionaire Dennis R. Washington. Modern Machinery sells and rents high quality heavy equipment and provides product support to the construction, mining, and forestry industries. The Modern Machinery terminal in Rochester, WA is a home to a large staging area for a variety of Komatsu product brought from overseas awaiting shipment to other Komatsu dealers.
ETON is a Las Vegas-based premier transportation company serving the Western United States with equipment, professional drivers and superior on-time service.
Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd. (OTCMKTS: KMTUY), the world's second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment.
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