Chesterton Tribune

IOSHA and Walsh & Kelly settle in death of worker inflating tire, $5,000 fine

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Walsh & Kelly Inc. has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine, imposed by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA), in connection with the death in September of an employee killed when the tire on the Caterpillar Wheel Loader he was inflating exploded.

Around 4:02 p.m. Sept. 9, Ty Richard Outzen, 47, of Rensselaer, was inflating the tire at Walsh & Kelly’s asphalt plant at 3221 Bertholet Blvd. in Valparaiso when it ruptured, causing what Coroner Chuck Harris described at the time as a “small explosion.”

An autopsy subsequently determined that Outzen died of blunt force trauma to the head and torso, the result not of tire fragments but of the explosive discharge of air against his body.

On Nov. 22, IOSHA issued an order which found eight “serious” violations on Walsh & Kelly’s part, including the following:

•Failure to ensure that no employee services a multi-piece rim wheel unless property trained.

•Failure to ensure that each employee demonstrates an ability to safely service a multi-piece rim wheel.

•Failure to furnish an air-line assembly equipped with a clip-on chuck for inflating tires on rim wheels.

•Failure to furnish an air-line assembly whose length of hose is sufficient to allow an employee to stand outside the trajectory while inflating tires on rim wheels.

In that original order, IOSHA fined Walsh & Kelly $4,000 per violation for a total penalty of $32,000.

On Dec. 16, however, Walsh & Kelly and IOSHA entered into a settlement agreement under which Walsh & Kelly stipulated to a total penalty of $5,000 and IOSHA deleted all but one of the “serious” violations and amended that first one to read as follows:

“The employer did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees, in that employees were exposed to broken bones, contusions, and death were a tire on a multi-piece rim wheel was aired up by an untrained employee.”

The $5,000 fine is due within 15 working days of Walsh & Kelly’s execution of the settlement agreement.


Posted 12/28/2011