OSHA cites Milwaukee area water technology facility after worker injured falling into water test pit
PEWAUKEE, WI – 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.”
Based in Rye Brook, New York, Xylem is an international company that tests, troubleshoots and repairs large industrial water treatment pumps used by power plants and municipalities. The company employs more than 1,600 workers nationwide and 57 at the Pewaukee facility.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.