Federal investigation into employee’s fatal fall finds San Antonio wire drawing company willfully exposed workers to unsafe forklift hazards
SAN ANTONIO – A federal investigation has found that a San Antonio wire drawing company could have prevented an employee from suffering fatal injuries by following required workplace safety standards.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection in February 2023 at WMC San Antonio LLC and learned the company allowed employees to ride atop an unsecured, site-made forklift attachment to move wire mesh bundles at the plant. At the time of the incident, the deceased worker was transporting bundles to flat-bed trailers when the attachment slid off the forks, causing them to fall. The employer had tasked workers with moving material from the plant to another WMC location as the company prepared to close the San Antonio facility.
OSHA issued WMC a willful citation for failing to provide fall protection for employees working at heights up to 13 feet. The company also received a second willful citation for exposing workers to fall and struck-by hazards by allowing them to ride on improper and unsecured forklift attachments. The agency has proposed $299,339 in penalties for its violations.
“WMC San Antonio ignored the well-documented dangers of using unauthorized forklift attachments and an employee’s family, friends and co-workers are left to grieve their loss,” said OSHA Area Director Alex Porter in San Antonio, Texas. “This company publicly claims that employee safety and well-being is a priority but then unnecessarily exposed workers to serious dangers. In this case, actions would have meant much more than words.”
Founded in 2003 in Jacksonville, Florida, WMC San Antonio is now based in The Woodlands. The company also has mill facilities in Texas as well as California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures.
WMC San Antonio LLC has 15 business days from receipt of citation 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.